By: April Carson
We are shocked and saddened to learn that Africa's largest "tusker" elephant has been slain by a trophy hunter in Botswana, where a hunting ban had just been lifted.
The endangered elephant captured by trophy hunter Leon Kachelhoffer, who is believed to have paid $50,000 for the privilege, was reportedly worth $5 million and lived in an area where human populations were extremely dense. Because of their big size and huge tusks that may weigh 100 pounds (45kg) each, "big tuskers" are known as such because of their enormous size. But according to research, these large-tusked elephants—prime targets for both poachers and trophy hunters—are on the verge of extinction.
"This is a senseless and barbaric act," said Kitty Block, president of Humane Society International. "Botswana had been a safe haven for Africa's elephants, but now it seems the country is open for business when it comes to trophy hunting."
Debbie Peake, the director of a trophy export firm based in Botswana, attempted to justify Kachelhoffer's actions by stating that the hunt "will make a significant impact on a town." Trophy hunters frequently try to justify their actions by portraying themselves as conservationists and contributors of benefits to their communities, but the fact is that their thoughtless, egotistical behaviors undermine local communities and seldom result in any meaningful financial gains for them, in part due to corruption and a lack of revenue sharing by hunting businesses. Trophy hunting revenues published by pro-hunting organizations have been demonstrated to be inaccurate and inflated.
Peake also tried to defend the killing of ‘big tuskers' by saying that once their tusks weigh 100 pounds, they've mated numerous times and therefore have already contributed their genes to the gene pool. She, however, ignores the fact that bull elephants mate more frequently as they grow older and that senior bulls play in elephant social groups.
The truth is that elephants and other wild animals are more valuable alive than dead, according to Botswana's former president, Ian Khama, who wrote next to a photograph of the slain animal: "How does it benefit our tourism industry as a result of poor governance? Our tourism is based on wildlife. There will be no tourists, no jobs, and no money without wildlife. Incompetence and bad leadership have nearly wipe out the rhino population," he added in another post.
Apart from the benefits of being a tourist attraction, elephants are an essential keystone species whose activities modify their environment and benefit thousands of other species. According to recent research, each African forest elephant's lifetime carbon sequestration value may be as much as $1.75million (based on 2019 carbon price, which has nearly tripled since).
Natural carbon capturing efforts are also thought to be aided by the bigger African savanna elephants that can be found in Botswana. There are still discussions about how this inherent value might benefit local communities in the future through carbon markets.
The news was greeted with sadness by both Born Free and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “The death of this magnificent elephant, one of the few remaining big tuskers in Africa, will have a ripple effect that goes far beyond his own demise. It also runs the risk of disrupting other elephants' groups and populations, leading to greater conflict with people, which hunting advocates frequently claim their activities help prevent.”
"Unless there's an immediate and significant increase in funding, the situation will only deteriorate. If any of the money generated by the hunt is returned to the local community, it will have at best a limited and temporary impact, and won't help wildlife law-enforcement agencies recover their finances. It's time we moved past trophy hunting and recognized how valuable protecting what remains of our precious wild animals truly is.”
Born Free urges the government to keep its promise to ban trophy hunting imports to the United Kingdom.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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