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African elephant (courtesy

“The poaching crisis is taking more from us than just elephants,” the Wildlife Conservation Society reports. “We must put a stop to it.” Roger that! As someone who’s seen African elephants in their native habitat, I hate to see these magnificent creatures pushed to the edge of extinction by poachers bent on harvesting their tusks for the illegal ivory trade. But the Wildlife Conservation Society’s plan to stop the slaughter singularly fails to mention the fact that anti-poaching initiatives have failed. They will continue to fail until they add legal hunting to the mix. I say this as someone who would never shoot an elephant (unless it was intent on killing someone). Am I wrong? Email blast after the jump . . .


The trail of death surrounding elephant poaching in Africa is now extending well beyond elephants.

You see, it takes a poacher about an hour to hack off the tusks after they kill an elephant. In that time, vultures can circle overhead, potentially tipping off rangers.

One solution? Poison the carcass. What follows is a gruesome death for the vultures, as well as any lions or hyenas that happen to feast on the poisoned meat after the poachers flee the scene of the crime.

I hope you never have to witness a young lion cub dying from poisoning, as it lies on its side in convulsions, and scrapes the ground bare trying to stand up and get back to its pride. It is truly one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve encountered in over 30 years in the field.

These senseless deaths are, in a word, unacceptable. I have no intention of standing by while innocent life after innocent life is taken solely for profit. Are you with me, Robert?

If you are, this is your moment. Stand up against this type of murderous depravity and protect wildlife with a donation today. We’re aiming to raise $200,000 by midnight on December 31. As little as $5 can help get us there.

Clearly, elephants aren’t the only animals in the crosshairs. WCS and local partners on the ground have worked tirelessly to establish sanctuaries across Mongolia. Poachers had other ideas, decimating herds of the Siberian ibex, goitered gazelle, argali, and the Mongolian wild ass to cash in on the demand for exotic meats around the world. Disgusting.

As we expand protected areas, ecoguards on the ground in places like Mongolia report having trouble patrolling hundreds and thousands of acres – there’s simply not enough boots on the ground. And poachers get creative, too – whether it’s poisoning vultures, or tracking the movements of park staff so they can plan their attacks accordingly.

We’ve got to stay two steps ahead of poachers. Here’s how we plan to do it:

  • Put more boots on the ground to patrol protected lands. Without people to enforce the restrictions, protected areas are not protecting the lands and the animals we think they are.
  • Use smart technology to identify poaching hot spots faster. It’s tracking devices to know where animals are at all times. It’s aerial surveillance to stay one step ahead of poachers.

Increase our ability to understand the illegal wildlife trade and act to stop it. It’s good to capture poachers when they poach. It’s better to stop poaching before it happens, and capture those in the illegal wildlife trade that pay the poachers.

Poachers and their pals want us to give up. They’re hoping the world will accept that slaughtered ibex, elephants, and gazelles are just part of life. If that’s what you want to do, feel free to ignore this email.

But if you’re ready to outsmart poachers and save wildlife, chip in $5 to help us turn the tables on those profiting from these awful deeds around the world.

Thank you for standing with us.


Tim Tear
Executive Director, Africa Program
Wildlife Conservation Society

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  1. Flood the ivory market with farm raised no kill tusks. The poachers will stop when there’s no money in it. The same with Rhino horn, let every game ranch in Southern Africa trim horns and flood the market. The prices will collapse and the poachers will move to selling skank horn and ripping people off.

    I got charged by a Rhino in South Africa in 2009, I have a deep respect for what that animal can do.

    • But if you do that you damage the business of the hard working poachers.

      Whose business model is being protected by the government. Just like the drug trade. We could put these guys out of business easily using the free market, but then the CIA couldn’t fund its contra scandals.

      • The Really Inconvenient Truths (by Iain Murray)…chapter six: “Endangered Species Act.”

        “Supporters of bans on anything point out that they raise the costs of criminal activity. At the same time, by restricting supply they raise the price the successful criminal can receive.
        “A ban will be effective–it will deter trade in the contraband–if the new costs exceed the new price. In the case of endangered species, the activity is evidently profitable, because by all accounts demand has not slowed down at all.” (p.261)

        “In Zimbabwe, back when Robert Mugabe was still constrained by the rule of law, the black rhinoceros was saved from extinction by being moved from common land to privately owned land. Poaching on government land had been responsible for the catastrophic decline of the black rhino in response to demand from East Asia for rhino horn, a traditional aphrodisiac. After private land owners took responsibility for guarding the rhinos, the poaching dried up, with not one case in the two major conservancies between 1990 and 1997. The major conservancies helped finance their protection efforts through trophy hunting, not of the rhinos, but of the other species on their lands…’While it may seen gruesome to some, there is no doubt that trophy hunting provides huge incentive to protect wildlife throughout Africa.'” (p.267)

      • You do realize that guys that protect these animals already shoot poachers, right? Why not make a buck from it?

      • Vitsaus — so with your attempt to insult (via your PETA reference), are you also implying that the (human) life of the poacher is worth more than the (animal) life of the poached?

    • But, but… what about all of the people dying in the crossfire? Next thing you know, all of the legal poacher hunters will whip out their guns and start shooting each other, like in the movies!

    • Correct me if I’m wrong. But ain’t it already legal to hunt the poachers in those countries? Shoot on sight ranger patrols?

      Fear of death doesn’t seem to slow bad guys down much. Whether it’s cocaine or ivory the profits seem to motivate the right assholes to keep going in spite of risk.

  2. Some African Elephants have been producing shorter tusks, this genetic mutation may help the species survive the poaching, but is more difficult for the elephant to find food and water without it’s primary tools.

  3. Green / “conservation” = Hammer & Sickle Red

    They ask you to save the animals, but they really want to get rid of you.

  4. You’re not wrong. To the people they share land with, elephants are dangerous, destructive pests that have no living value, and good reason to get rid of them.

    Create value with legalized hunting, and they will be supremely interested in the future welfare of the African Elephant.

  5. If it pays it stays. Poachers get about $250 per tusk, hunters pay over $50,000 in trophy fees, ph costs and so on.

    One hunted elephant adds as much to the economy 100 poached ones. Hunting is a way to save them .

    • “Pirate Hunting” should also be added to the menu, for those interested in seafood (especially the Somali variety, IYKWIM).

  6. I’ll stick to poaching eggs and salmon, but never at the same time. Anyone who wants to poach an elephant better have an enormous pot and a whole reservoir full of water.

  7. “I hope you never have to witness a young lion cub dying from poisoning, as it lies on its side in convulsions, and scrapes the ground bare trying to stand up and get back to its pride. It is truly one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve encountered in over 30 years in the field.”

    And I’m sure some African family is all !@#$%^&*(&*^%$#@~!@#$% YES, One less stinking livestock killing maneating murder machine to bother us!

  8. I’m confused with the whole poison the carcass deal. That does nothing to solve the problem of vultures tipping off rangers. Also, wouldn’t lacing an elephant carcass with poison chew up time? I’m not doubting some of those bastards would do it, just doesn’t make sense to me.

  9. I’m not going to support or restrict elephant hunting. Elephants ain’t native to my part of the world. I’ll let the .gov in the places that have elephants sort it out.

    If I’m ever there I’ll abide by whatever rules they lay down.

  10. “But the Wildlife Conservation Society’s plan to stop the slaughter singularly fails to mention the fact that anti-poaching initiatives have to fail. They will continue to fail until they add legal hunting to the mix…”

    I don’t see that making anti-poaching initiatives work. The more elephant hunting is accepted, the more demand there will be for it- either legally or illegally. I’m not saying we should ban all hunting, particularly those that aid conservation efforts through funding, but I recognize that it isn’t going to help much.

  11. The Wildlife Conservation Society began as the New York Zoological Society. It represents a number of NY aquariums, zoos, and so forth folded into one organization for, among other things, fund raising.

  12. The comments here simply baffle me. Poisoning ? They are not in my back yard? What is this nonsense? There is absolutely no intelligent reason why any man needs to kill an elephant. End of story. I understood that this blog to be about guns and the second amendment. Where does the poaching of African elephants come into play?

    • This site is not all about you. I find it interesting to read about this, as I am sure many do, because I have thought about going to Africa some day to hunt the local wild life, with a firearm. (Which ties in to this Web site as The Truth About Guns)

      This also ties in about how government restriction of something always make that restricted thing more valuable, hence more profitable to procure and to sell. As the example, the failure of the war on drugs, because criminals make so much money selling the illegal substance. Which then makes it more worthwhile by criminals (to use firearms) to murder each other to protect their “illegal” drug trade, which the anti-gunners use as an excuse to outlaw guns. If there was a legal trade in Ivory, it would make the protection of Ivory bearing animals profitable to raise and protect them by legitimate businesses and giving the locals a reason to protect the wildlife from the poachers.

      So you see, to me, this article is obviously one aspect of the whole picture about The Truth About Guns.

      But, in the end, the beauty of this whole Web site is that if the article or commentary is not of interest to you, just don’t click on it.

      • ThomasR — indeed. And YOUR comment is of interest to me, thus I chose to “click on it” and am replying directly to it. So here now, adding to the “beauty of this whole Web site”, is my reply, which is everything that precedes the period at the end of this sentence.

    • “End of story.”

      Sounds just like a bossy little Shannon Watts stamping her foot while announcing to the world just how closed her mind is.


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