DSC submitted its official comment yesterday in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s call for comments regarding the future of the African elephant. In March, the Service began accepting comments of scientific and commercial information concerning the possible reclassification of the African elephant from Threatened to Endangered. The Service requested factual comments to see if there is any evidence to consider uplisting.
DSC Executive Director Ben Carter said, “As longtime supporters of wildlife and habitat conservation, DSC is glad to provide our insight and knowledge of the benefits hunting brings to African wildlife. We provided the USFWS with many science-based examples of successes and failures of different models of conservation. We hope that the USFWS can use this valuable insight as they review the status of the African elephant.”
In their comment, DSC provided a litany of examples to show that when hunting goes away, so do the animals. For example, Kenya banned elephant hunting in 1977. With the loss of revenue from hunting to combat poaching, Kenyan elephant populations dropped from an estimated 167,000 in 1973 to approximately 27,000 in 2013.
Many countries lack sufficient funding to properly manage wildlife and habitat. In 2012, $68 million resulted from hunting in the sub-Saharan region. More than 40 percent of this money came from hunting the Big Five, including the African elephant.
Other countries rely heavily on the revenue stream generated by hunting. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority protects the country’s wildlife. For the last five years, approximately 50 percent of the department’s budget stemmed solely from hunting revenues. Without this influx of money, most countries will not be able to effectively manage their elephant populations.
The official comment delves much deeper into the issue and highlights both the benefits brought about by legal hunting and the after effects of what happens when hunting is banned. Interested parties can see the comment in its entirety at the DSC News Center.