Elephants Worth 76 Times More Alive Than Dead

Every 15 minutes an elephant is murdered by poachers, amounting to 36,000 deaths per year. With such startling figures why aren’t authorities taking more action to protect these precious animals who have been roaming the earth for 15 million years?

Sadly, not enough is being done to prevent the widespread ivory poaching which is endangering the future of wild elephant populations, with experts predicting that if we don’t step up our fight against the illegal ivory trade, elephants could be extinct from the wild by 2025.

While the life of any animal should not be valued in monetary terms, a new report from the iWorry campaign of the David Sherlock Wildlife Trust has shown that the estimated value of an elephant to local economies is as much as 76 times more than what poachers are killing them for. Surely in a world run by money, these figures should be enough to spark governments into action to put a stop to poaching before it’s too late.

How Do You Value the Life and Death of An Elephant?

The “Dead or Alive: Valuing an Elephant” report by iWorry has looked in detail at the revenue which is generated from wildlife tourism through airlines, travel companies and local economies. Tourists who are eager to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures are willing to pay large amounts of money for the honor, and while there may be some issues around certain safari practices, the overall outcome from this type of tourism is beneficial, not least because some of the money raised is put back into protection and conservation of wild animals.

The value of one elephant to the economy is estimated to be around $1,607,624.83, which is a staggering amount in contrast to the $21,000 average price that poachers get for killing the same animal for his ivory.

Poaching prices are determined by demand, which is now higher than ever before. Ivory markets in China and Hong Kong account for a large proportion of the illegal buyers, a situation which is not helped by the fact that China has more than 35 ivory carving factories and 130 ivory retailers who are supplying a boom in demand from consumers who see ivory as a status symbol of wealth and social standing.

Let the Money do the Talking

We would all like to believe that governments are doing all they can to prevent poaching and other illegal destructive wildlife practices, but the reality of the situation is that more can always be done. Budgets are always being stretched and finances to fight against such injustices are always going to be somewhat limited, however surely if governments were able to look at these figures and see how much potential damage poachers are causing to their economies, it would incentivize them to act now and take big steps to protect their future tourism industries.

If we continue the way we are going and wild elephant populations are all but extinct in another 10 years, this will have devastating impacts on the local economies of these regions. More investment is needed to fight the poachers, save the elephants, and safeguard the important income that is being generated from low impact wildlife tourism.

Photo Credit: Martin_Heigan


Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

So sharing

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Dianne D.
Dianne D4 years ago

put armies on the these animals for protection and let the armies poach the poachers

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

The fact that the tourism value of the elephant is the same with whales and all wildlife. All are worth much more alive for tourism industry than murdered for their parts. Governments have had their heads in the sand to these facts otherwise they would be putting forth greater efforts to ensure their safety. When you think of the tourism money that could go into some of the small villages that could help bring in food to the villages it seems like it should be an easy decision.

Jacqueline GLYDE4 years ago

I agree with Ruhee.Give them a dose of Ebola!!

Susan Griffiths
Susan G4 years ago

Just posting my idea to 'dispose' of confiscated elephant tusks, in a way that makes a statement, educates the public and raises money for the anti-poaching campaign. I propose that the confiscated ivory could be crushed, as it currently is, but then mixed with a synthetic material rendering it valueless on the black market. This material could then be used to carve or mold giant ivory tusks. These 'tusks' could then be installed in appropriate public places, as an sculptural installation, with an educational message inscribed on a plaque attesting to how many elephants were murdered to make the number of 'tusks' installed in that place. Other anti-poaching educational information could also be written on the plaque. Corporations could then purchase these tusks, to show their support and sponsorship for the anti-poaching campaign (with their names attached to the plaque) and the money raised could be spent on further activities to promote anti-poaching and the protection of elephants. I cannot see any animal welfare or rights association objecting to this, in fact I believe such a use for the confiscated ivory would gain their support.

Ruhee B.
Ruhee B4 years ago

So sad. We must find better ways to protect these creatures. Hope the poachers and ivory dealers all catch Ebola!

Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

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Thank you for sharing

Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

For the horses and goats from PETROPOLIS please sign the petitions :
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Carol Johnson
Carol J4 years ago

Thanks for sharing