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If, however, the market was unlikely to ever re-open, they would have to either conduct all their sales activity illegally, or they could dump stock now.The latter would be ideal for elephant conservation, as it would drive prices downward, which, despite an initial potential increase in quantity demanded, should disincentivize poaching.In a new paper in , we find that in order for the Chinese domestic ivory trade ban to be effective in its role against elephant poaching in Africa, the authorities have to state explicitly that the ban will be indefinite and wide-ranging.
One way to mitigate the risk elephants are facing due to demand for their ivory is to reduce that demand – such campaigns are crucial in the fight against poaching, and domestic ivory trade bans can complement these campaigns.
At the South African Institute of International Affairs, we promoted the indefinite imposition of a domestic ivory trade ban in the run-up to the 17th Conference of the Parties (Co P17) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 2016.
Scientists have taught us pretty much all that we know about the animal kingdom, but are there times when they are better off keeping their discoveries to themselves?
A team of Australian researchers are now calling for some data on the location of endangered species to be withheld from scientific journals, in light of a mounting body of evidence that suggests poachers are using publicly available information to zero in on the animals."There are a lot of benefits to open-access online journals including an increased public awareness of science and citizen science participation, but for some species this benefit needs to be weighed against the risk of increased poaching," said Dr Benjamin Scheele from Australia National University and one of the authors of the new paper.
In the course of conducting research into natural resource governance, I started to see the devastation of elephants through poaching, habitat contraction and fragmentation, and other factors.
Because the ivory trade is a predominantly clandestine activity, little reliable data is available to help us ascertain how prices are formed.One the basis of our findings, we propose that the Chinese authorities should make it explicit that the ban is indefinite, and that they take steps to indicate, monitor and communicate progress.By doing this, they will signal credibility, preventing speculators from starting to believe that the regulators are not serious about shutting down the market.In our study, we designed a simple non-cooperative game between Chinese authorities and ivory speculators to assess the best equilibrium outcome for elephants.Within the broader game, there are two sub-games – the first is between speculators and poachers.By Ross Harvey, MPhil Elephants in the wild are under serious threat: Save the Elephants estimates that 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa between 20.Elephants are part of our global heritage that should be stewarded for future generations, but they are not to be fenced off in “fortress conservation” efforts; we must find ways of co-existing with elephants in a way that serves communities in Africa – and the elephants themselves."It shows that it is still possible to publish new scientific descriptions without including the location data.We argue that researchers are best placed to judge the risk to a species, so author self-censorship may currently be the best option to stop this crucial information getting used for the wrong reasons."The paper was published in the journal Science.However, there is excellent seizure data available, and from that one can infer how much ivory might be entering a country. Dan Stiles suggests that a huge volume of raw, illegal ivory entering China was being stockpiled and not sold.In December 2016, China committed to execute a domestic ivory trade ban by the end of 2017.