The Hippopotamus: Endangered Species Report

Essay by MercuriHigh School, 10th grade January 1997

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The Hippopotamus: Endangered Species Report

The ban on elephant ivory trading has slowed down the poaching of elephants, but

now poachers are getting their ivory from another creature, the hippopotamus. For

the poacher, the hippo is an easy target. They stay together for long hours in muddy

water pools, as many as eighty-one can be found in a single square mile. This

concentration is so big it's only second to that of the elephant. Poachers kill the

animal, then pick out the teeth and sell them for as much as seventy dollars per kilo.

This is a very cheap price. Elephant ivory sells for as much as five-hundred dollars

per kilo. The reason the price-per-kilo is so slow is because hippo ivory is very

brittle compared to the much stronger elephant ivory.

Elephant ivory is no longer at the biggest risk for poaching; hippo ivory is. Eastern

Zaire once had one of the largest hippo populations in the world, around 23,000

hippos. According to a count done in 1994, this number has now dropped to

11,000. The 1989 ban on elephant ivory is the main cause attributed to the

exponential rise to hippo ivory trade.

'European and African activists are petitioning advocacy groups, including last

week's annual Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Florida,

for a ban on hippo poaching. But they say they're a long way from putting an end to

the slaughter.' (Howard & Koehl)

The hippopotamus is an enormous amphibious animal with smooth, hairless skin.

Hippos can be found in Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and a few can also be found in

Sierra Leone and Guinea. Hippos used to be found anywhere south of the Sahara

Desert where they could find enough water and plenty of room to graze. Now, due

to poachers and...