orDEADALIVE?VALUING AN ELEPHANT© Abhishek Desai
PREFACE“Elephants are among the world’s mostcharismatic mega fauna and our largest livingland mammals. However, the survival of Africa’selephants is threatened by continuing demandfor ivory desired for trinkets, religious statues,ornaments and accessories from Far EasternCountries. As a result, elephant poaching is rifeacross Africa, with elephants being killed even insupposed safe and protected areas. The resultis the unsustainable slaughter of one elephantevery 15 minutes, decimating populations anddamaging ecosystems.This report looks at the financial value ofelephants; alive. Every year, thousands of touriststravel to African nations to see elephants, yetwithout protective regulations, these nations canbecome devoid of the very animals which thehordes of eager tourists have come to see.This report finds that alive, elephants present ahuge revenue stream to local economies throughtourism and, in the long term, elephants areworth significantly more roaming the world’ssavannahs and forests than with their tuskssitting on a mantlepiece or adorning someone’swrist.Protecting elephants makes monetary sense.Data of this type can be used to show keydecision makers that elephant conservation is afar more viable economic proposition than theivory trade. It’s a powerful incentive to decisionmakers in charge of our natural resources toprotect the species against rampant poaching.Referring to wild animals as ‘economiccommodities’ has created controversy in the pastbut where policy is determined by the value of anobject, it’s time to give the elephant a fair footing.We must recognise the need to realise the valueof our wildlife and environmental heritage in orderto pass policies that safeguard against theirdestruction. Policy makers will not pass effectivemeasures without tangible benefits to society, yetso far the discussion has seemly only focused onthe consumptive value of an elephant, it’s tusks.We need to look at the animal alive.Arguments to protect Africa’s elephantshave typically been based on emotive andenvironmental reasons – their cognitive abilities,their benefit to the wider environment and theirancient beginnings. To many decision makers,this might be enough. But we must reach thosethat balance the purse strings to make effectivepolicies happen.Protecting elephants makes economic sense,whether you’re responsible for a reserve inTanzania or a National Park in Kenya -- ifelephants live, tourists will come and economiescan be boosted. It’s another argument as towhy we must save elephants and a financiallycompelling one.”Rob Brandford, iworry Director
METHODOLOGYThis publication identifies reported ivory seizuresworldwide. By ‘reported ivory seizures’, we meanpublicly reported ivory seizures, focusing onnewspaper and online reports. We have used awide range of open source resources, includingEnglish, Chinese, and French-language media,but it should be noted that the reported ivoryseizures identified in this document may notrepresent the total number of seizures this yearand are only a proportion of all illegal ivory trade.As part of international monitoring of theillegal trade in ivory, countries party toCITES (Convention on International Trade inEndangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)are mandated to report information on elephantivory seizures to TRAFFIC via the CITESSecretariat within 90 days of their occurrencewhich is then added to the ETIS database,though the time frame is often ignored.Variances in law enforcement, the rule of law andcorruption levels, mean that reporting rates differfrom country to country, and our figures may varyfrom TRAFFIC reported seizures.The number of estimated elephants killed perseizure is an estimate and not a definitive number.We are using TRAFFIC’s estimate that an averagetusk weighs 5kg , extrapolating that an averageelephant with two tusks carries 10kg of ivory.We note that this is a very conservative estimatewith ‘tuskers’ carrying much larger quantities,however this estimate serves as a basis totranslate ivory seizure data into a relative estimateof the numbers of elephants represented byindividual ivory shipments. There may be avariation between country or even regions withheavily poached elephant populations yieldingsmaller average tusk sizes while recently poachedpopulations provide larger yields.This report is produced by iworry, an elephantawareness campaign by the David SheldrickWildlife Trust. The iworry campaign raisesawareness of the ivory poaching crisis andthe impact trade in ivory is having on elephantpopulations. More information: www.iworry.orgThe David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust hasworked in Kenya for over 35 years to protect,conserve and preserve wildlife and habitats.Their conservation projects include Anti-Poaching and Aerial Surveillance initiatives,Mobile Vet Units, the Orphans’ Project, SavingHabitats and Community Outreach. Moreinformation: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.orgiworry would like to thank Gabriella Minerva andAmanda Woomer for their editorial assistanceand contributions.
SUMMARYElephants are one of the world’s most recognisablemammals, thanks to their size and distinctivetusks. It is these distinctive teeth that are makingthe species increasingly vulnerable to the point thatpopulations have reached a tipping point; if theslaughter of elephants continues then they will bewiped out within our lifetime .Policy and decision making in the conservationof natural resources which includes, in manycountries, elephants, is influenced more by dollardenominatedmeasures of benefits and costs thannon-monetary measures. With ongoing slaughterthreatening Africa’s elephant populations, in orderto secure the long term future of the species, itis imperative to speak to natural resource policymakers in a language they understand to highlightthe benefits of protecting the species and identifythe tangible benefits elephants can bring.A single dead elephant’s tusks are estimated tohave a raw value of $21,000 (based on TRAFFICestimate that an elephant carries an averageof 5kg of ivory per tusk). By comparison, theestimated tourism value of a single living elephantis $1,607,624.83 over its lifetime to travelcompanies, airlines and local economies thanksto tourists willing to pay generously for a chanceto see and photograph the world’s largest landmammal. That makes a living elephant, in financialterms, as valuable as 76 dead elephants.Our research finds that between Januaryand August 2014, a reported 17,799.29kg(17.8 tonnes) of ivory was seized worldwide,representing 1,940 elephants slaughtered for theirtusks. But it’s not just elephants that are in danger.The slaughter so far has lost Africa’s tourismindustry, local communities and economies a totalof $44,554,844.47 alone this year. More killingsevery day only increases this figure.As a form of wildlife crime, the illegal trade in ivorybenefits criminal gangs, corrupt military units andmilitia and even terrorist groups including Al-Shabaab and the Lord’s Resistance Army.Taken together, the findings demonstrate thatthe species are worth more alive than dead.Ending the killing and protecting elephantsmakes monetary sense. Worldwide, a single livingelephant drives tens of thousands of dollars intourism-related revenues. Alive, they benefit localcommunities and economies; dead they benefitcriminal and even terrorist groups.Given the overlap of ivory poaching locations andelephant tourism operations, every elephant killedmakes these regions much less profitable. As aresult of the findings, iworry recommends:- An immediate end to all sales of ivory- Greater funding for Anti-Poaching operations;boots on the ground- Education in communities from which poachersare drawn as to the value elephants could bringto them in the long term- Ensure tourism initiatives and projects givetangible benefits to communities- Enhancing campaigns in ivory consumercountries to inform the public about the true costof ivory.Sources:CITES, The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) Section 1. http://www.cites.org/eng/prog/etis/index.php2014. TRAFFIC, Personal Communication.2014. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-288429652009. Yarrow, G., Wildlife Economics: Forestry and Natural Resources. https://www.clemson.edu/.../wildlife/.../pdfs/fs38_wildlife_economics.pdf1994. Currey,D., Moore,D & EIA, African Elephants, the Success of the CITES Appendix I Ban. Currey & Moore gave a figure of $1 million adjusted for inflation.
THE YEAR SO FAR...JAN-AUG 201443seizures17.8tonnes1,94017.8tonnesTRAFFICKEDIVORYIVORYSEIZEDELEPHANTS KILLED TO PRODUCE IVORYVALUE OF ELEPHANT over its lifetime to tourism$1,607,624.83Average raw VALUE OF IVORY an elephant carries$21,000$76xMORE VALUABLEis an elephant alive than dead10% of CONTRABAND is usually seized90%ILLEGAL IVORYbenefitting terrorist and criminal groupsup to19,400elephants killedthis year so far
IVORYa popular productIvory has long been prized in cultures across theworld but since 1989, it has been illegal to tradeinternationally in ivory. Two exceptions to thisban have since occurred; in 1999, Botswana,Namibia and Zimbabwe were allowed a ‘one offsale’ of ivory to Japan and in 2002, and a further‘one off sale’ to China and Japan was approved,which took place in 2008.Prior to the ‘one-off’ sales, the ban was initiallysuccessful in halting the elephant killing of the1980’s and combined with declining popularityamong Western countries throughout the 20thcentury, meant the price of ivory slumped andpoaching rates fell dramatically. By comparison,as a result of the sales to China, demandhas been stimulated and a market has beencreated in which illegal poached ivory can belaundered, thus boosting domestic demand forivory products. Combined with China’s growingmiddle class who can afford endangered wildlifeproducts such as ivory, the result has been asoar in demand.Two types of elephant exist in Africa, the ForestElephant and the Savannah Elephant; both arepoached for their ivory. Research by Save TheElephants found that in 2014, uncarved ivorywas worth $2,100 per kilo in China, three timesits value in 2010.2014. Born Free USA, Ivory›s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa. http://www.bornfreeusa.org/a9_ivorys_curse.php
17.8TONNESOF IVORYSEIZEDTHIS YEARseizures and terrorismThe illegal wildlife trade, which includes the illegaltrade in ivory, is estimated to be worth $15–20billion annually and is the fourth most lucrativeillegal activity behind arms, drugs and humantrafficking.Between January and August 2014, 43 seizures ofivory were reported or more than one a week. Thecombined weight of the seizures amounts to morethan 17.779 tonnes (17.8 tonnes), or approximately1,940 elephants slaughtered for their tusks.Of the reported ivory seized: 10 seizures were inKenya, five were in Gabon, five were in Vietnamand four were in China (including Hong Kong).Whilst this is significantly less than the 50 tonnesof ivory seized globally in 2013, it cannot be seenas indicating poaching rates have diminished.Changing shipping routes, ports, reduction in aregion’s rule of law and reporting can all impactseizure rates.It is widely known that corrupt officials, criminalgroups and even terrorist groups are involved inthe illegal trade in ivory. Using current estimates,the value of the seized ivory in 2014 amounts to$37,378,509.Yet, it is estimated that a seizure rate of 10% ina developed country is considered “good” forgeneral goods contraband – which includes ivory.This suggests that so far this year, an estimated177,993kg (178 tonnes) of ivory has been illegallytrafficked representing 19,400 elephants killed.
TOURISMan Economic AlternativeThe current population of elephants in Africais unknown but estimates place the figure atbetween 300,000 and 400,000. As a species,elephants do not reach sexual maturity until atleast 11 years old, live until 70 on average andreproduce slowly meaning at the current rateof slaughter, they will be wiped out within ourlifetime.As one of Africa’s famous Big Five, elephants area significant source of revenue for the tourismindustry. In Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and SouthAfrica elephants are now an important part ofthe regional and national tourism industry, drivingmulti-million dollar revenue streams. Elephantviewing camps, safaris and photo-tours are allbased around the thrilling experience of viewingwild elephants. When viewed through a nonconsumptivelens (tourism), alive a single elephantcan contribute $22,966 to tourism per year andbecause elephants live for multiple decades, thetotal revenue that each elephant can generateduring its lifespan is immense - $1,607,624.83.By comparison, an elephant carries an estimatedtwo 5kg tusks or a total of 10kg (a conservativeestimate). Dead, an elephant is worth anestimated $21,000. Alive, an elephant is worth 76times as much.As a key stone species, elephants shape theirenvironment with species and animals withinthe ecosystem dependent on elephants fortheir own survival. Grazing the world’s forestsand savannahs, elephants generate vast sumsof renewable cash for the local economy in theprocess.Regionally, Kenya and Gabon account for themost seizures within Africa. Though tourism inGabon remains largely underdeveloped, in Kenyaelephants and wildlife tourism alone generates12% of the Gross Domestic Product and createsover 300,000 jobs.In fact Kenya is well established as a destinationto view wildlife, raising Kshs’4,216,756,000 inNational Park entrance fees in 2012 (around$47,657,000). Home to Africa’s ‘Big Five’,elephant herds alongside rhino and buffalo drawhundreds of thousands of tourists each year.For instance, Tsavo East National Park, home toKenya’s single largest population of elephantsaccounts for over 20% of average annualvisitation into Kenya Wildlife Service NationalParks with other parks including AmboseliNational Park and Samburu National Reservehome to world famous herds.The slaughter of over 1,940 elephants so far thisyear to furnish the illegal trade in ivory represents$44,554,844 lost to tourism. This pales incomparison to the potential $445,548,444 lost totourism if we take into account a 10% seizure rate- which is a standard among developed countries.Further loss of elephants only increases this figureand makes these regions less profitable.2014. Save The Elephants, Price of ivory in China triples in four years, with grave implications for elephants in Africa. http://savetheelephants.org/press-releases/price-of-ivory-in-china-triples-in-four-years-with-grave-implications-for-elephants-in-africa/2014. UNEP, The Escalating Illegal Trade in Wildlife. http://www.unep.org/unea/the-escalating-illegal-trade-in-wildlife-and-timber.asp2014. Born Free & C4ADS, Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory. http://www.bornfree.org.uk/news/news-article/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=16602013. Animal Welfare Institute, Elephant Slaughter Escalates as Illegal Ivory Market Thrives. https://awionline.org/awi-quarterly/2013-winter/elephant-slaughter-escalates-illegal-ivory-market-thrives2008. BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7777413.stm2013. Kahumbu, P., Kenya overhauls wildlife laws following rise in elephant and rhino deaths. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/africawild/2013/jun/07/kenya-wildlife-laws-elephant-rhino-deaths2012. Kenya Wildlife Service, Annual Report 2012. http://www.kws.org/export/sites/kws/info/publications/annual_reports/KWS_Annual_Report_2012_FINALx.pdf2010. Kenya Wildlife Service, Tsavo Conservation Area. Lease Development and Operation of Proposed Tourist Accommodation Facilities,Prospectus2010. http://www.kws.go.ke/tourism/promotions/KWS_TSavo_conservation.swf
alive a singleelephant cancontribute$22,966 totourism per year
IVORY SEIZURESDATE OFSEIZUREIVORYSEIZEDWEIGHT(KG)NUMBER OFELEPHANTSKILLEDPER SEIZURECOUNTRY OFSEIZUREJanuary 34kg 34.00 3.4 GabonJanuary 2 tusks not known 1 GabonJanuary 1.8 tonnes 1,800.00 180 Singapore01-Jan-14 81 tusks not known 40.5 Tanzania08-Jan-14 35 tusks 275.00 17.5 China10-Jan-14 34kg 34.00 3.4 Gabon14-Jan-14 14kg 14.00 1.4 China16-Jan-14 5kg 5.00 0.5 Kenya18-Jan-14 3.4kg 3.40 0.34 Kenya29-Jan-1423-Jan-143.815 tonnes 3,815.00 381.5 Togo30-Jan-14 120kg 120.00 12 ChinaFebruary 95.82kg 95.82 9.582 ChinaFebruary 4.2kg 4.20 0.42 Vietnam08-Feb-14 143kg 143.00 14.3 Cameroon14-Feb-14 0.68 kg 0.68 0.068 Kenya16-Feb-14 79.5kg 79.50 7.95 Cambodia06-Mar-14 36 tusks 170.00 18 Cameroon21-Mar-14 77 pieces 263.00 26.3 Cambodia27-Mar-14106 pieces of rawivory tusks1,000.00 100 Singapore04-Apr-14 7 tusks 50.00 3.5 Gabon07-Apr-14 48kg 48.00 4.8 Kenya01-May-14 0.092kg 0.09 0.0092 Zimbabwe09-May-14 3 tonnes 3,000.00 300 Cambodia24-May-14 1266kg 1,266.00 126.6 Vietnam05-Jun-14 2152 kg 2,152.00 215.2 Kenya08-Jun-14 125kg 124.00 12.4 Togo10-Jun-14 790kg 790.00 79 Ethiopia18-Jun-14 700kg 700.00 70 Togo
IVORY SEIZURESDATE OFSEIZUREIVORYSEIZEDWEIGHT(KG)NUMBER OFELEPHANTSKILLEDPER SEIZURECOUNTRY OFSEIZURE22-Jun-14 90Kg 90.00 9 Vietnam28-Jun-14 6 tusks not known 3 NamibiaJuly 4 spikes 14.00 1.4 Gabon25-Jul-14 260kg 260.00 26 Kenya28-Jul-14 18 tusks 46.00 9 Thailand31-Jul-14 9 tusks 84.00 4.5 Kenya01-Aug-14 14.6 kg 14.60 1.46 Vietnam04-Aug-14 5 tusks 12.00 1.2 Kenya04-Aug-14 84kg 84.00 8.4 Kenya12-Aug-14 4 tusks 30.00 2 Benin15-Aug-14 30kg 30.00 3 Benin17-Aug-14 1000kg 1,000.00 100 Vietnam18-Aug-1462kg including2 tusks62.00 6.2 Kenya12-Aug-14 30kg 30 3 Benin22-Aug-14 56kg 56 5.6 BeninTotal:17799.29Total:1940.0292
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust2nd Floor, 3 Bridge StreetLeatherhead, SurreyKT22 8BLUNITED KINGDOMTel: +44 (0) 1372 378 firstname.lastname@example.orgDesign by Gilda Castro Rios© Abhishek Desaiwww.iworry.orgiworry is an elephant awareness campaign by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.