Cape Town (dpa) – Elephant poaching costs African countries 25 million dollars each year in tourism revenue, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Tuesday, in a report that urges governments to invest in conservation in order to prevent future losses.
In the joint study by the WWF and the Universities of Cambridge and Vermont, researchers noted a strong economic incentive for protecting elephant populations.
« Our research shows that investing in elephant conservation is actually smart economic policy for many African countries, » said Robin Naidoo, WWF wildlife scientist and the study’s lead author.
« For every dollar invested in protecting elephants in East Africa, you get about 1.78 dollars back. That’s a great deal, » said Brendan Fisher, an economist at the University of Vermont.
Tourism was negatively impacted in wildlife parks where elephant poaching increased, according to the report.
Poachers kill up to 30,000 African elephants each year for the illegal ivory trade, funded by global organized crime syndicates and fuelled largely by demand in China and elsewhere in Asia, according to the WWF.
Within the past decade, Africa’s elephants have declined by more than 20 per cent, the WWF said.
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