The exploitation of elephants for the ivory trade: an historical perspective
Two major factors are likely to have caused recent elephant population declines: carrying capacity reductions and hunting for ivory. A model is developed to disentangle the effects of these two factors on elephant population dynamics since 1814. The model suggests that carrying capacity reductions were a major cause of elephant population declines in the 19th Century and first half of the 20th Century, but that, since 1950, hunting for ivory has been the cause of an increasingly rapid population decline. These results are extremely robust to changes in parameter values within a reasonable range.