Re-thinking the Application of Sustainable use Policies for African Elephants in a Changed World

"Despite increasing calls to recognise the intrinsic value of biodiversity, the need to incentivise people to choose conservation as a competitive form of land use through a sustainable use (SU) approach remains the de facto and de jure reality across most of Africa today. In a ‘second-best’ world of corruption and poor governance, consumptive use (CU) policies (eg, ivory trading, trophy hunting, culling) have produced mixed results for elephant and ecosystem conservation, and for human development. The partial ban on ivory trade globally has led to confusion among African policymakers, local and international law enforcement agencies, and ivory consumers. This is causing a perfect storm of increased poaching to meet the increased (speculative?) demand for raw ivory, without the potential solutions from implementing either a controlled legal trade or a permanent global ban. New realities are emerging, namely the closure of the main consumer ivory markets; the poor prospects for further international trade approvals under CITES; concerns that the biologically constrained supply may not be able to meet uncertain demand under a legal trade scenario; and the questioning of the conservation and community benefits of trophy hunting."