Illegal Elephant Poaching in Zambia: Human Conflict?

Topics: Poaching

Despite the adequate evidence that the elephant is an endangered species, African countries such as Zambia, feel that there is a need to eradicate the elephants. In 1979 the elephant population in Africa was predicted to be around 1.3 million, but in just the short gap of 10 years, the population was reduced down to under half of its previous number. A ban on elephant poaching was put in place to protect and conserve the dying species. Regardless of this, these creatures continue to be threatened by proposals to ease the ban.

Proposals, that are rightfully rejected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Countries like Zambia base their reasoning on deficient facts and remain blinded to the reality of the situation. They cannot perceive how vulnerable the elephants are and how important it is to protect them.

The truth is, despite prohibitions on illegal poaching of elephants, this practice is still common. Zambia argues that there has been an increase in animal-human conflict, but it seems that humans pose greater harm to elephants than the elephants do to them.

Take, for example, the elephant massacre in Chad of spring 2006.Slaughter at the hands of humans.

As for their argument of elephants attacking humans, elephants only attack when they are threatened, and threatened indeed they are. Not to mention the ruination of their natural habitats which is far more destructive and impactful on the elephants than the elephant’s “marauding food crops” is to humans.

Regarding the animal-human conflict, Catherine Namugala states that many humans have been killed by elephants and that some children are afraid to go to school because they think they will be attacked by them.

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Does this “many” she speaks of, come close to the 23000 elephants that are killed yearly for ivory? And what of the young elephant calves, are they not afraid of the humans? Elephants – one of the most intelligent animals on the planet – can grieve and feel emotions. Surely, the loss of a herd member would take a toll on the young as well as the other elephants. 

Elephant intelligence and endangerment do not seem to matter to Zambia’s experts, who recommend cropping the elephant population. Whereas the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species -a treaty consisting of 160 different nations as members, one of which is Zambia – works to guarantee that international trade does not put endangered species at risk. Unlike Zambia’s experts, they do not believe the population growth of elephants to be harmful and do not find the need to cull them.

Aside from this, Zambia’s plan to use the money they obtain from ivory sales towards game parks is flawed. There is no logic behind killing an endangered species to fund conservation reserves. They would only be worsening the elephant’s endangered status, not aiding it.

The impaired vision of the Zambian government does not see this flaw in their argument, let alone the elephant’s desperate need for survival. It is obvious Zambia does not respect the preservation of animal life, especially the endangered ones. To conclude, Zambia should give up on thitsttempts to evade the ban and spend more of their time on finding ethical ways to lessen the animal-human conflict. Zambia needs to comprehend that CITES did well to reject the white elephant of a proposal as it was unwelcome by many.

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Illegal Elephant Poaching in Zambia: Human Conflict?. (2022, Jun 14). Retrieved from

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