Ivory Trade and Its Negative Impacts
Have you ever considered that the percentage of elephants killed is faster than the percentage of elephants being born? According to the wildlife conservation society, 96 African elephants are killed every day for ivory; at this rate, no elephants will be left in 20 years (Jones, 2015). This directly means 34,560 elephants get killed every year. Imagine to what extent that they are being killed every year! Ivory trade was started during the seventh and eighth centuries, when Muslim Arabs secured a trade monopoly in Maghreb, in the north African countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, between the Atlas mountain and the Mediterranean with peoples of the Sahara; as it was used for luxury goods by Carving, it was considered as a commodity from the early times (Seaver, 2009). This situation created the illegal ivory trade in the world. At the same time, poachers started to hunt elephants, so as to sell their ivory on the black market for an exorbitant price. Consequently, the elephant species started to become extinct. Hence, people should not buy ivory products as it Causes the extinction of elephant species, the devastating decline of plant species, and negative impact on herbivorous animals.
The first reason why people should not buy Ivory products is because it causes to the rapid trending down in the population of elephant species, which finally leads to extinction of the species. People should consider that, buying Ivory products would literary mean encouraging poachers to continue their brutal act on elephant species. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, 96 elephants are killed by poachers every day to meet the demands of ivory trade (Jones, 2015). For instance, In1976, The African Elephant Specialist Group estimates that there were 1.3 million elephants ranging over 7.3 square kilometer; then after 11 years the elephant population decreased to 760,000; the preceding 2 years also dropped to 608,000 (Stiles, 2004, p. 312). Imagine what is going to happen if the number is continuously decreasing like this! We are killing them just for their ivory. This indicates that, we are endangering large mammal, which has a great role in maintaining the grass land of biodiversity, for a commodity that is much more expensive and results in financial problem to humans. So to possess the benefit from the mammal, we should take care of their lives, we should have to consider not only the crisis that the elephant population is facing, but also the negative impact that we will face as a result of extinction. We humans believe that we were born free, and so we should live free, what about the elephants don’t they deserve to live free? As elephants are competitive to humans in nature, they are the one who play a profound role on the shape of biodiversity; that is why the greatest fear of high profile campaigners is the reduction of biodiversity as the species become endangered by western and Asian consumption (Gross, 2014). Accordingly, poaching of elephants is not just causing the whole elephant to disappear, but also it has a cumulative impact on the environment when natural pattern change. For example, when elephants disappear, germination of new trees will stop. No elephants…no forests…no birds; this, then, will affect insect count and therefore the instance of diseases (Gross, 2014). Hence, the loss of elephants from one particular cite would mean that all the biological interaction and ecosystem process in which they are involved, would also lost.
The second reason why people should not buy ivory products is owing to the fact that it causes the devastating decline of plant species. African elephants are one of the most effective seed dispersal agents, which disperse a large amount of seeds as many as 346 seeds/Km2/day in Ndoki (Campos-Arceiz & Blake, 2011). Hence, the local decrease in number or disappearance of elephant population results in a limited set of highly specialized plant species being poorly dispersed or not dispersed at all (Campos-Arceiz & Blake, 2011). For Example, these plant species that depend on elephants to be disseminated like Fabaceae (52 species), Malvaceae (33 species), Sapotaceae (30 species) … etc. will be poorly dispersed if elephants disappear (Campos-Arceize & Blake, 2011). In addition to that, it also causes many plant species to be dispersed in lower quantities or in shorter distances (Campos-Arceiz & Blake, 2011). This implies that there would be an increase in peril of ecosystem and turns the distribution of considerable number of plant species (Campos-Arceize & Blake, 2011). On the other hand, as trees play a vital role in preventing soil erosion which can destroy an entire human population as it affects agricultural activities, if the survival of elephants is precarious, human population would also be put at high risk. So, why do we kill elephants and hurt ourselves? Don’t we know the problem we will face beyond extinction?
The final reason why people should not buy ivory products is in view of the fact that it has a negative impact on herbivorous animals (plant eating animals). The preferred feeding height level of elephants is less than 2m, this enables elephants to facilitate the availability of trees at lower feeding heights as cited in the journal of wild life research (de Boer et al, 2015, p. 492). This helps to provide forge for the grazers at lower feeding heights. In addition to that, elephants also keep trees and shrubs below certain level; therefore, it creates browsing lawns (de Boer et al, 2015, p. 492). This assists herbivores animals in providing silage, so as to survive on the earth. Example gazelle and zebra are animals that can benefit from habitat modification, this implies that ivory trade is harming animals in an indirect way. Furthermore, elephants also help to create openings in a forest area, this enables grasses to benefit the release of competition with trees; therefore, this would have a positive effect on herbivorous animals (de Boer et al, 2015, p. 492). For this reason, ivory trade is not only causing the grass lands to decrease, but also influences negatively to herbivorous animals as a result of the disappearance of the crucial animals called elephants.
In conclusion, the desire of people to consume ivory products is leading to the poaching of elephants, which finally causes the species to become extinct. Consequently, it gives rise to the devastating decline of forests and harming herbivorous animals as elephants helps to maintain grassland. Now, more than ever, as the elephants are so vulnerable, the world should say no to ivory owing to the fact that every piece of ivory is a haunting memory of proud and majestic animals who has loved and been loved, a close member of family, some kin to our own, but suffered and died in unspeakable agony to yield a tooth for a trinket. Something so symbolic of death and suffering can never be beautiful.
Campos-Arceiz, A., & Blake, S. (2011). Megagardeners of the forest - the role of elephants in seed dispersal. Acta Oecologica, 37 (6), 542-553. doi:10.1016/j.actao.2011.01.014 de Boer, W.,F., Van Oort, J. W., , A., Grover, M., Peel, M. J., & S. (2015). Elephant- mediated habitat modifications and changes in herbivore species assemblages in sabi sand, south africa. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 61 (4), 491-503. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10344-015-0919-3
Gross, Z. (2014, Feb 24). Small world: Ivory trade makes elephants disappear. The Brandon Sun Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1501471684?accountid=15192
Jones, A. (2015, Aug 30). Elephant numbers shrink. Los Angeles Times Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1708039851?accountid=15192
Seaver, K. A. (2009). Desirable teeth: The medieval trade in arctic and african ivory. Journal of Global History, 4 (2), 271-292. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1740022809003155
Stiles, D. (2004 p312). The ivory trade and elephant conservation. Environmental Conservation, 31 (4), 309-321. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/203156292?accountid=15192