ECO DEFENSE GROUP (EDGE) STUDIES IMPACT OF BIG GAME HUNTING ON ELEPHANTS
International conservation non profit EDGE begins innovative study to understand effects of big game hunting on African species.
NAMIBIA— The Eco Defense Group (EDGE) works between Namibia and South Africa to study the effects of big game hunting on the populations of large African species.
EDGE geneticist Maddie C. says “Reducing regulations on the import of certain species that are of conservation concern will not only increase consumer demand for wildlife products, but also impact genetic diversity of already vulnerable populations like elephant and rhino.”
Trophy hunters often target the largest and strongest males, creating a weaker, more vulnerable population. Hunting, selective breeding and other programs alter the natural development, diversity and genetics of these species.
Elephants are of course in the news right now with the Trump Administration’s reversal on the ban against the importation of big game trophies.
EDGE works with the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism to design and implement large scale sampling and analysis of populations in collaboration with trophy hunting organizations to better understand the issue and find ideal solutions.
EDGE seeks funding to continue and expand this international research project.
The program involves tagging elephants and other big game, taking DNA samples, storing and processing those samples and then building a database and creating a multi-national “genetic map.”
Nathan Edmondson, representative for EDGE says “Conservation means first and foremost understanding both the natural state and the impact of human development. This project is innovative step in that direction that could help inform how we think about preserving the world’s most vulnerable species.”
Edmondson says there may be species “we don’t even know are at risk.”
Additionally, large carnivores, such as lions, play an integral role in maintaining ecosystem balance.
Reducing the populations of lions and other carnivores can have cascading effects that impact development, nutrition, and child welfare.
Find out more at www.ecodefensegroup.org
Media Contact: Isabel Hayes, EDGE, 919-617-1990, firstname.lastname@example.org