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Elephants: Poaching into Extinction

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Elephants are intelligent animals that deserve much more than being treated as a prize.

Elephants are intelligent animals that deserve much more than being treated as a prize.

Yeileny Lopez

Yeileny Lopez

Elephants are intelligent animals that deserve much more than being treated as a prize.

Yeileny Lopez, Opinion Editor

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Elephants are known for being the maintainers of biodiversity. However, for some, elephants and their ivory tusks are solely seen as the tokens of a great hunting expedition, therefore threatening the lives of many elephants, especially in Africa. Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, African elephants are declared to be close to endangerment. In order to prevent further a decrease of the species’ population, President Barack Obama placed a ban on the importation of elephant trophies that were hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia to the United States. Nonetheless, Trump’s administration has targeted Obama’s administration’s laws once again as they push to overturn the old policy on elephant trophies. Allowing hunters to kill elephants for their tusks and keep trophies is completely inhumane and a violation of animal rights. In fact, these animals are more beneficial alive, because they play an important role in our ecosystems.

The killing of animals for the purpose of entertainment is extremely absurd, especially when the species is endangered or close to being endangered, which is exactly why poaching elephants is wrong. The population of elephants plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity where they reside. In fact, the tusks of elephants serve more purposes than just being a valuable and extravagant trophy. Elephants use their tusks to dig for water during the drier seasons, which allows other animals to survive when there are droughts since they have limited sources that provide water. Furthermore, forest elephants create gaps in the vegetation that allow new plants to grow, and they also disperse seedlings. Moreover, elephants that live in the savannahs keep the plains open and improve ecosystems. The luxury of having ivory tusks comes at the price of the elephant’s life, yet people are still selfish enough to kill innocent animals in order to satisfy their selfish needs. The benefits of having elephants in many ecosystems are diminishing more each time an elephant is sacrificed for its profitable parts. With the poaching of elephants, multiple ecosystems and their species are suffering due to the lack of elephants in their community. Since elephants are key to having biodiversity, ecosystems that depend on the presence of elephants will fail to survive; thus, creating a domino-like effect in where one species dies after another.

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I think it is disgusting that they are thinking about ending the ban. Elephants are almost extinct, and now we might end up living in a world without elephants because Trump wants people to be able to import their barbaric trophies into America. ”

— junior Lucianne Vivas

Although poaching elephants is considered to be an act of inhumanity, it can be argued that hunting works as a means of conservation. Hunting animals, whether it be elephants or others, regulates the animal’s population in order to make sure that they are not overpopulated. This is why it is promoted to hunt certain animals during the hunting season in the United States. Additionally, lifting Obama’s ban will generate revenue for the countries where elephants can be hunted since hunters have to pay to hunt them. Many argue that it is worth hunting the elephants since the revenue serves a purpose in improving the country’s economy. Moreover, those who argue that elephants should be hunted say that the revenue will be used to facilitate wildlife protection plans.

However, hunting elephants in some countries does more harm than good for the economy. In Western, Southern, and Northern Africa, a great part of the country’s revenue comes from tourism. If you have not guessed it by now, the main attraction for the high levels of tourism in these countries is the African elephants. Yet, if the population of elephants continues to decrease, such countries will face a smaller flow of income. It is logical to say that the less elephants there are, the less people will actually travel to these countries; therefore, creating financial problems that could have been avoided if elephants were not hunted in the first place. Furthermore, government corruption exists highly among issues that concern hunting and the revenues received from it, which is one of the reasons as to why Obama initiated the ban. It is extremely doubtful that the money will actually go to wildlife perseverance when government officials themselves have been accused of being involved in the poaching of elephants and the importation of ivory tusks.

“Elephants are close to being highly endangered species that deserve to be left in peace. This won’t do anything to help preserve them, but instead it will only further damage the elephant population. I think the ban should have never been overturned,” sophomore Adrian Vidal said.

Elephants are being poached to extinction, and the only resolution that stopped the numbers from going down was Obama’s ban. All of the benefits our world receives from this insanely intelligent animal seem to go be forgotten when compared to how much money a hunter can receive for the ivory tusks. Additionally, it is a shame that these elephants will start suffering again as their deaths are sometimes considered worthless unless it is for their tusks. Instead of helping the almost extinct species, America finds itself once again contributing to the extinction of elephants. It is an inhumane act to kill elephants for a small part of their bodies, especially when they are close to facing extinction. Elephants have so much to offer in our ecosystems, which is exactly as to why we cannot afford to lose the population of elephants around the world.

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Elephants: Poaching into Extinction