The sale of ivory stocks in 1997 and 2008 was supposed to stem the tide of poaching, to aid efforts to protect the elephants. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened: demand for ivory was stoked once more and it triggered an epidemic of elephant poaching over the following few years.
Between 2007 and 2014 alone, at least 144,000 elephants were slaughtered. An unprecedented ecological, economic and social tragedy for the countries of Africa. Elephants are a tourist attraction and an iconic symbol with a corresponding economic value.
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The predicament for African elephants, expressed economically, lies in the fact that they continue to be “measured” by the retail value of their ivory, even though this is in reality a black-market value.
Therefore, our goal – from an economic perspective – is to show African elephant range countries that a living elephant is worth more, continuing year on year, than the once-off revenue from the ivory of a dead one. This is, nota bene, earned outside the country by poachers and traders.
For this reason, Fondation Franz Weber is working on an incentive programme for the African “elephant states” to boost the value of live elephants through tourism: “EleWatch”. We are also collaborating on a study of anti-poaching programmes in African reserves in an effort to assess the steps taken and to introduce improvements.
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