African #elephant #poaching rates correlate with local #poverty, national #corruption and global #ivory #price (Nat Commun., abstract)

[Source: Nature Communications, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Article | OPEN | Published: 28 May 2019

African elephant poaching rates correlate with local poverty, national corruption and global ivory price

Severin Hauenstein, Mrigesh Kshatriya, Julian Blanc, Carsten F. Dormann & Colin M. Beale

Nature Communications 10, Article number: 2242 (2019)



Poaching is contributing to rapid declines in elephant populations across Africa. Following high-profile changes in the political environment, the overall number of illegally killed elephants in Africa seems to be falling, but to evaluate potential conservation interventions we must understand the processes driving poaching rates at local and global scales. Here we show that annual poaching rates in 53 sites strongly correlate with proxies of ivory demand in the main Chinese markets, whereas between-country and between-site variation is strongly associated with indicators of corruption and poverty. Our analysis reveals a recent decline in annual poaching mortality rate from an estimated peak of over 10% in 2011 to <4% in 2017. Based on these findings, we suggest that continued investment in law enforcement could further reduce poaching, but is unlikely to succeed without action that simultaneously reduces ivory demand and tackles corruption and poverty.

Keywords: Wildlife; Poverty; Society; Africa.


Published by

Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum ( in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.