Print

Every day human beings negatively impact the lives of wild elephants. Poaching for the commercial trade in ivory, increasing loss and fragmentation of natural habitats, and conflict with people over diminishing resources threaten the survival and welfare of elephants. Fueled by poverty, greed and ruthless or ignorant buyers, poaching has peaked once more during the period between 2010 to 2015. Ivory hunters target older animals with heavier tusks, leaving traumatised individuals, fragmented families, and destroying the very fabric of elephant society.

Human-elephant conflict results in the killing, injuring, spearing, poisoning, and snaring of hundreds of elephants across Africa and Asia every month of every year. As the scale and pace of environmental destruction in African and Asian elephant range states multiplies, intensive management of elephant populations becomes inevitable. Elephants are fenced, chased, driven, captured, translocated, abducted for sale to zoos and circuses, and killed in the name of elephant management and the reduction of human-elephant conflict.

The root cause of this conflict is not elephants, but increasing human populations and unsustainable consumption of natural resources.

We must address the issue of human population growth as well as reduce our individual impact on the planet's resources if we are to conserve biodiversity in general. And we must develop and implement sensible land use practices that take account of the collective needs of people and elephants to reduce and preempt long-term conflict and suffering. Promoting co-existence requires understanding the needs and perspectives of both people and elephants.

Estimate world population growth U.S. Census Bureau August 2016.