Researchers have disclosed that elephant poaching costs African countries $25 million each year in tourism revenue.
This was contained in a joint study released on Tuesday in Cape Town by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) the Universities of Cambridge and Vermont.
Brendan Fisher, an economist at the University of Vermont, noted that for every dollar invested in protecting elephants in East Africa, you get about $1.78 dollars.
He described this as a great deal.
Mr. Fisher said tourism was negatively impacted in wildlife parks where elephant poaching increased, according to the report.
He said poachers killed up to 30,000 African elephants each year for the illegal ivory trade, funded by global organised crime syndicates and fuelled largely by demand in China and elsewhere in Asia.
Mr. Fisher said research has revealed that within the past decade, Africa’s elephants have declined by more than 20 per cent.
Robin Naidoo, WWF wildlife scientist and the study’s lead author, said the research showed that investing in elephant conservation is actually smart economic policy for many African countries.
The researchers urged governments to invest in conservation in order to prevent future losses, nothing that a strong economic incentive for protecting elephant populations.