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Connect the dots: infant mortality, graft and elephant poaching

General January 3, 2014

A herd of elephants gather at a watering hole inside Hwange National Park, about 840 km (521 miles) outside HarareBy Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – What do infant mortality and elephant poaching have in common? Researchers have for the first time made clear connections between elephant poaching in Africa, which has been surging to meet soaring ivory demand in Asia, and factors such as poverty, as shown by high rates of child deaths, and corruption. The findings come in a report prepared for an African elephant summit in Botswana in December by groups including TRAFFIC, which tracks the global trade in wildlife products, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. In this regard, the ivory trade – with its long and blood-stained history – is similar to other extractive industries in Africa, which have been exploited to meet demand elsewhere with few rewards for local people.

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