According to a world’s animals. Africa currently has 415,000 elephants, counting the forest and savanna elephants together, according to the IUCN.Thursday by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, LIBREVILLE, Gabon, increasing threats of poaching and habitat loss have endangered Africa’s elephant populations. The African forest elephant is critically endangered, and the African savanna elephant is endangered. The two species had previously been grouped as a single species and were classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. African forest elephants have fallen by more than 86% over 31 years. In comparison, the population of savanna elephants dropped by more than 60% over 50 years, according to the IUCN, which rates the global extinction risks to the
The African forest elephants — smaller in size — mostly occupy the tropical forests of, with the largest remaining populations found in Gabon and the Republic of Congo. The savanna elephants prefer more open plains and are found in various habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, with Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe having high concentrations. In Gabon, the fight against elephant poaching “is more than just fighting for nature. It’s fighting for the stability of our country,” Lee White, Gabon’s minister of water and forests, told The Associated Press. “We have seen countries like the Central African Republic, where poachers became bandits, became rebels and destabilized the whole country,” White said, attributing the bulk of poaching and ivory trafficking to international cross-border syndicates.
“Criminal networks working with corrupt officials are a significant problem in central and western Africa, Rudi van Aarde of the University of Pretoria’s zoology department. Eighty to 90% of our ivory goes to Nigeria and ends up funding (the jihadist rebels) Boko Haram. So it’s a cross-border fight against organized crime and even against terrorism,” he said. He said the battle to protect Gabon’s forest elephants is a war. “We have transformed biologists into warriors,” White said. “We have transformedwith nature and the national parks into soldiers who have gone to war for the survival of the elephants.” ‘Told The Associated Press.
“Most of the ivory that leaves this continent for Asia is from central andAfrica. The population is suffering more because of the illegal trade in ivory instead of environmental issues like deforestation,” said van Aarde. Sub-Saharan Africa’s elephants suffered a massive knock with a spike in poaching between 2008 and 2012. A worrying trend is that a substantial amount of that poaching occurred in East and Southern Africa, where an estimated 100,000 savanna elephants were in northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania during that period, he said. “Africa’s elephants play key roles in ecosystems, economies, and in our collective imagination all over the world,” IUCN Director General Bruno Oberle said, lamenting the of Africa’s elephants.
“Today’s new IUCN need to creatively conserve and wisely manage these animals and their habitats are more acute than ever,” said Kathleen Gobush, the lead assessor in the IUCN team compiling the list. Magome reported in Johannesburg.assessment of both African elephant species underlines the persistent pressure faced by the iconic animals,” Oberle said. “The results quantify the dramatic extent of the decline of these ecologically important animals. With persistent demand for ivory and escalating human pressures on Africa’s wildlands, … concern for Africa’s elephants is great, and the