“We must urgently put an end to poaching and ensure that sufficient suitable habitat for both forest and savanna elephants is conserved.”
This piece of cautionary advice was delivered by Dr Bruno Oberle, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that compiles the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which brings global attention to each species of wildlife that are threatened with extinction along with “conservation actions” to possibly reverse such dire population declines.
The somber news is that Africa’s forest elephants, much more so than savanna elephants, are just steps away from extinction unless a concerted effort is made to protect these majestic creatures. For this reason the IUCN is now listing African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) and African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) separately instead of categorizing them as a single species (the African elephant) as has been done in the past.
The numbers don’t lie. A loss of over 86% of Africa’s forest elephants has been recorded within a 31 year period. Africa’s savanna elephant population fell , at a minimum, by 60% in the last 50 years .# Thus their designations as critically endangered (forest elephants) and endangered (savanna elephants) would, sadly, not be unexpected.
According to the Great Elephant Census, in 1979 the population of African elephants was estimated at 1.5 million strong. As of 2016, the last count of the African elephant species (as a combined species of forest and savanna), their numbers were down to 415,000.**
Time is running out for our African elephants unless major elephant conservation efforts (anti-poaching efforts as well as efforts to prevent deforestation of elephant habitats) are followed , as Dr. Oberle of the IUCN suggested.
Over 37,000 species, 28% of those that have been assessed by the IUCN, are now threatened with extinction. Among those species 26% are mammals. +
Elephant conservation is up to US
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