So Long Elephants, Nice Knowing You...

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,036
16,503
The Misty Mountains
... but we need your ivory and don't give a damn if you're still around or not. These are the actions of people. Is it fair to ask what is wrong with us?

Heard a report on PBS this morning which prompted me to pull up this:
African Forest Elephants Are Being Massacred Into Extinction- fueled largely by U.S. demand?? (Jan 2014)

Elephants extinct within 12 years. (2013)

Apparently in the 1980s the population of elephants dropped from 1.5 million to 600k. About 36,000 elephants in Africa were slaughtered last year despite a ban on ivory. WWF estimates todays total African Elephant population at 400-700k.
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
6,747
4,885
... but we need your ivory and don't give a damn if you're still around or not.

Heard a report on PBS this morning which prompted me to pull up this:

African Forest Elephants Are Being Massacred Into Extinction- fueled largely by U.S. demand?? (Jan 2014)

Elephants extinct within 12 years. (2013)

Apparently in the 1980s the population of elephants dropped from 1.5 million to 600k. About 36,000 elephants in Africa were slaughtered last year despite a ban on ivory. WWF estimates todays total African Elephant population at 400-700k.
In the modern work, it's utterly insane that people still want lion testicles, ivory, and rhino horn.

Most of the demand for such goods is coming out of Asia though, and China is increasingly taking over large parts of Africa through investments.
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,223
2,248
Sunny, Southern California
In the modern work, it's utterly insane that people still want lion testicles, ivory, and rhino horn.

Most of the demand for such goods is coming out of Asia though, and China is increasingly taking over large parts of Africa through investments.
Some of the pictures I have seen regarding the rhino horn's is disgusting.

I hope for our sake we stop all the above. Ugh.
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
6,747
4,885
Some of the pictures I have seen regarding the rhino horn's is disgusting.

I hope for our sake we stop all the above. Ugh.
China will make it harder to stop poaching, not easier.

Given the sheer size of Africa and the resources needed to patrol it, the best we can do in the USA is collect and preserve the DNA of near extinct animals and leave it to future western generations to find a real solution.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,879
3,140
It's just a hunch. Elephants won't be extinct. They will still live in the wild. The sun will rise in the east. The oceans will not have evaporated.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,879
3,140
There are too many "ifs" in that article to make any conclusion about how many species go extinct. Nor is extinction necessarily a bad thing. We should expect species to become extinct due to natural selection. In fact, new species are created all the time due to evolution and natural selection. Furthermore, keep in mind that only man defines what a "species" is. It's an invented classification. Nature doesn't identify creatures by "species". Want to lower the number of species extinctions--broaden the definition of a species. Want to increase the number of species extinctions--tighten the definition. Let's classify all red-haired humans between 68-71 inches tall and weighing between 189-210 lbs as a species. Do the same for all combinations of hair color, heat, and weight. See how many human "species" you get? Do the same thing with all creatures and think how many you get, and how many of those "species" go extinct.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,036
16,503
The Misty Mountains
There are too many "ifs" in that article to make any conclusion about how many species go extinct. Nor is extinction necessarily a bad thing. We should expect species to become extinct due to natural selection. In fact, new species are created all the time due to evolution and natural selection. Furthermore, keep in mind that only man defines what a "species" is. It's an invented classification. Nature doesn't identify creatures by "species". Want to lower the number of species extinctions--broaden the definition of a species. Want to increase the number of species extinctions--tighten the definition. Let's classify all red-haired humans between 68-71 inches tall and weighing between 189-210 lbs as a species. Do the same for all combinations of hair color, heat, and weight. See how many human "species" you get? Do the same thing with all creatures and think how many you get, and how many of those "species" go extinct.
I believe most scientists and philosopers would labels man's greed for certain goods for ornamental purposes or imagined health benefits at the expense of a species outside of the realm of natural selection. If we want to kill all the elephants, that is our choice to do so, or by inaction allow it to happen.

Where are you coming from? Do something or Que Sera Sera?
 

mobilehaathi

macrumors G3
Aug 19, 2008
9,344
6,213
The Anthropocene
There are too many "ifs" in that article to make any conclusion about how many species go extinct. Nor is extinction necessarily a bad thing. We should expect species to become extinct due to natural selection. In fact, new species are created all the time due to evolution and natural selection. Furthermore, keep in mind that only man defines what a "species" is. It's an invented classification. Nature doesn't identify creatures by "species". Want to lower the number of species extinctions--broaden the definition of a species. Want to increase the number of species extinctions--tighten the definition. Let's classify all red-haired humans between 68-71 inches tall and weighing between 189-210 lbs as a species. Do the same for all combinations of hair color, heat, and weight. See how many human "species" you get? Do the same thing with all creatures and think how many you get, and how many of those "species" go extinct.
Specious, glib, disingenuous, ignorant.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
3,993
Republic of Ukistan
There are too many "ifs" in that article to make any conclusion about how many species go extinct. Nor is extinction necessarily a bad thing. We should expect species to become extinct due to natural selection. In fact, new species are created all the time due to evolution and natural selection. Furthermore, keep in mind that only man defines what a "species" is. It's an invented classification. Nature doesn't identify creatures by "species". Want to lower the number of species extinctions--broaden the definition of a species. Want to increase the number of species extinctions--tighten the definition. Let's classify all red-haired humans between 68-71 inches tall and weighing between 189-210 lbs as a species. Do the same for all combinations of hair color, heat, and weight. See how many human "species" you get? Do the same thing with all creatures and think how many you get, and how many of those "species" go extinct.
I'm guessing taxonomy isn't your strong suit.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,654
122
i've read a lot of elephants are being born now with no tusks, and so aren't being hunted
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
11,628
There are too many "ifs" in that article to make any conclusion about how many species go extinct. Nor is extinction necessarily a bad thing. We should expect species to become extinct due to natural selection. In fact, new species are created all the time due to evolution and natural selection. Furthermore, keep in mind that only man defines what a "species" is. It's an invented classification. Nature doesn't identify creatures by "species". Want to lower the number of species extinctions--broaden the definition of a species. Want to increase the number of species extinctions--tighten the definition. Let's classify all red-haired humans between 68-71 inches tall and weighing between 189-210 lbs as a species. Do the same for all combinations of hair color, heat, and weight. See how many human "species" you get? Do the same thing with all creatures and think how many you get, and how many of those "species" go extinct.
But we aren't talking about natural selection ... unless you'd like to include poaching under that category.

Is that your intent?

Please clarify. Thank you.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,036
16,503
The Misty Mountains
i've read a lot of elephants are being born now with no tusks, and so aren't being hunted
This may be a great example of accelerated evolution, which besides genetic mutation, the genes that remain (short tusked elephants) are the ones that are carried forward. Not an example of natural selection, but human selection.
 

hulugu

macrumors 68000
Aug 13, 2003
1,819
10,200
quae tangit perit Trump
There are too many "ifs" in that article to make any conclusion about how many species go extinct. Nor is extinction necessarily a bad thing. We should expect species to become extinct due to natural selection. In fact, new species are created all the time due to evolution and natural selection. Furthermore, keep in mind that only man defines what a "species" is. It's an invented classification. Nature doesn't identify creatures by "species". Want to lower the number of species extinctions--broaden the definition of a species. Want to increase the number of species extinctions--tighten the definition. Let's classify all red-haired humans between 68-71 inches tall and weighing between 189-210 lbs as a species. Do the same for all combinations of hair color, heat, and weight. See how many human "species" you get? Do the same thing with all creatures and think how many you get, and how many of those "species" go extinct.
That's a mighty fine theory.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,832
Midlife, Midwest
The are large numbers of Afrcan elephants in captivity, not just in zoos, but in private game parks. The population of captive elephants is large enough, and genetically diverse enough, that should wild elephants be truly faced with extinction, it would be feasible to rebuild the population.

That, obviously, would be a less-than-optimal solution. The best solution would be African nations and peoples to establish and protect sufficient habitat for them to continue as a wild species. And for that to happen, Elephants have to become more valuable as living, walking, foraging animals than as dead carcasses from which poachers can hack tusks.

The worldwide ban on ivory trade has been an abject failure. It simply has increased the price of ivory to the point that it creates a huge incentive to kill and harvest ivory. Far better to legalize - and tightly control - the trade, using responsibly sourced supplies from natural deaths, deaths in captivity, managed culls, etc.

Simply hoping that Chinese are suddenly going to give up a couple of thousand years of tradition (no matter how ghoulish it might seem to us) is unrealistic.