This paper estimates the elasticity of elephant poaching with respect to prices. To identify the supply curve, the authors observe that ivory is a storable commodity and hence subject to Hotelling's no-arbitrage condition. The price of gold, one of many commodities used as stores of value, is thus used as an instrument for ivory prices.

Illegal harvest for commercial trade has recently surged to become a major threat to some of the world’s most endangered and charismatic species. Unfortunately, the cryptic nature of illegal killing makes estimation of rates and impacts difficult. Applying a model based on field census of carcasses, to our knowledge we provide the first detailed assessment of African elephant illegal killing rates at population, regional, and continental scales.

Elephant poaching and the ivory trade remain high on the agenda at meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Well-informed debates require robust estimates of trends, the spatial distribution of poaching, and drivers of poaching. We present an analysis of trends and drivers of an indicator of elephant poaching of all elephant species.

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