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Illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in African elephants

Overview of attention for article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, August 2014
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Citations

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407 Mendeley
Title
Illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in African elephants
Published in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, August 2014
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1403984111
Pubmed ID
Authors

G. Wittemyer, J. M. Northrup, J. Blanc, I. Douglas-Hamilton, P. Omondi, K. P. Burnham

Abstract

Illegal wildlife trade has reached alarming levels globally, extirpating populations of commercially valuable species. As a driver of biodiversity loss, quantifying illegal harvest is essential for conservation and sociopolitical affairs but notoriously difficult. Here we combine field-based carcass monitoring with fine-scale demographic data from an intensively studied wild African elephant population in Samburu, Kenya, to partition mortality into natural and illegal causes. We then expand our analytical framework to model illegal killing rates and population trends of elephants at regional and continental scales using carcass data collected by a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species program. At the intensively monitored site, illegal killing increased markedly after 2008 and was correlated strongly with the local black market ivory price and increased seizures of ivory destined for China. More broadly, results from application to continental data indicated illegal killing levels were unsustainable for the species between 2010 and 2012, peaking to ∼ 8% in 2011 which extrapolates to ∼ 40,000 elephants illegally killed and a probable species reduction of ∼ 3% that year. Preliminary data from 2013 indicate overharvesting continued. In contrast to the rest of Africa, our analysis corroborates that Central African forest elephants experienced decline throughout the last decade. These results provide the most comprehensive assessment of illegal ivory harvest to date and confirm that current ivory consumption is not sustainable. Further, our approach provides a powerful basis to determine cryptic mortality and gain understanding of the demography of at-risk species.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 502 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 407 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 6 1%
United States 5 1%
Canada 2 <1%
Brazil 2 <1%
Norway 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Finland 1 <1%
Botswana 1 <1%
Denmark 1 <1%
Other 9 2%
Unknown 378 93%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 81 20%
Student > Master 75 18%
Researcher 69 17%
Student > Bachelor 66 16%
Unspecified 30 7%
Other 86 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 158 39%
Environmental Science 128 31%
Unspecified 42 10%
Social Sciences 17 4%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 10 2%
Other 52 13%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1553. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 03 June 2019.
All research outputs
#1,500
of 13,644,405 outputs
Outputs from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#70
of 80,789 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#29
of 199,062 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#2
of 926 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,644,405 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 80,789 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 199,062 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 926 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.