STATUS• African Elephants are a symbolic creature of Africa.• Its population is steadily declining, as it has been internationally acknowledged as vulnerable.• There are only an estimated 470,000-690,000 African Elephants left in the world today (“African Elephants”).• Only 20% of the elephant population is under formal protection (“African Elephants”).• They are being forced out of their natural habitats in the savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa, and in the tropical rainforests of West and Central Africa (“African Elephants”).• Samuel Wassner, warned that African Elephants are steadily being pushed into extinction due to the ivory trade (Stiles).• They could be extinct by 2020 at the current rate (Stiles).• Populations that were thought to be increasing, have fallen again due to the growing ivory trade (Shoumatoff).
CAUSES• Many elephants are killed for bush meat. There is a lot of money to be made in the bush meat trade with elephants. • Meat prices range from 1-5 dollars per kilogram (Stiles). • Hunters sell all parts of the elephant. The entire elephant itself sells for almost 10,000 dollars (Stiles). • In some cases, bush meat may cost more than ivory (Stiles).• With an increasing number of changes in land-use, the growth of human population and extensive agriculture into rangelands and forests mean that large areas of land are now off limits for elephants (Fuashi). • In 1979, the elephants’ range was three million square miles. In 2007, it was just over one million square miles (Fuashi). • The decreased habitat makes elephants easier to hunt, and more likely to invade human territory, where they are killed (Fuashi).• Humans are introducing threats to the elephants with their land development. large and small farm estates, forest exploitation, hunting and poaching, road construction, settlement, and mining (Fuashi). • Commercial logging for instance, not only destroys elephant habitat, but it also creates access to elephant forests for poachers (Fuashi).
CAUSES• With increasingly high demands for ivory and an un- monitored domestic ivory market fueling the international trade, elephants have became an ideal target for poachers. • China’s price for ivory now sits at over $700 a pound, as it has brought new life to the illegal ivory trade (Shoumatoff). • It is difficult for the government to protect elephant herds. As such, the ivory trade is difficult to stop (Shoumatoff). • Despite its illegal status, ivory consumption has been increasing in both Asia and Africa over the last couple years (Furniss). • The growth of China’s economy has made private ivory enterprises possible (Furniss).
EFFECTS• With the constant migration of elephants as a result of human development,the elephants become unable to complete their ecological role (Chafota). • Slower nutrient cycling in habitats. This is detrimental for other species; namely herbivores, who rely on the elephants’ nutrient cycling (Chafota). • Up to 30 percent of tree species rely on elephants to help with dispersal and germination (Chafota).• With elephants being forced out of their habitats, they occasionally stumble into human settlements. This is detrimental to both the humans and the elephants. • Invading elephants damage crops, kill livestock and trample villages (African Elephants”). • Invading elephants are eventually killed, but not without trampling on a couple people (“African Elephants”).
EFFECTS• With fewer elephants in certain habitats, there has been an encroachment of forests and thickets which has resulted in a decline in population of other animals in the same area (Chafota). • Zebras, black rhinos and waterbucks (Chafota).• The poaching of elephants has had a detrimental effect on elephant behavior, genetic structure and health (Archie, Chiyo). • More rapid loss of genetic diversity. Stronger genetics die (Archie, Chiyo). • Reduced offspring survival and reproductive rates (Archie, Chiyo). • Loss of older, reproductively successful partners (Archie, Chiyo). • Loss of social relatives (Archie, Chiyo).
WORLD WILDLIFE FUNDWho They Are• World’s leading conservation organization.• About 5 million members globally.• 85% of the proceeds goes directly towards animal conservation.What they’ll do• Equip and train law enforcement to effectively carry out anti-poaching laws.• Establish new protected areas within elephant ranges.• Help the government adopt elephant conservation strategies.
WORKS CITED"African Elephants." WWF. WWF. Web. 17 Oct 2012. <http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/elephants/african_elephants/>.Chafota, Jonas. "Effects of Changes in Elephant densities On the Environment and other species- How much do we know?." Agricultural & Resource Economics at UC Davis. WWF. Web. 1 Nov 2012. <http://agecon.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/lovell-jarvis/docs/elephant/Chafota.pdf>.Fuashi, Nkwatoh Athanasius, and Victor Chik Fosah. "Forest/habitat fragmentation and human-elephant conflicts in the Takamanda-Mone landscape of the South West Region of Cameroon." Journal of Biology and Life Science 3.1 (2012): 266+. Academic OneFile. Web. 18 Oct. 2011 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA303895072&v=2.1&u=ko k12hs_d73&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w>.Furniss, Charlie. "On the Tusks of a Dilemma." Geographical Nov. 2006: 47+.General OneFile. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA156203892&v=2.1&u=ko_k12hs_d73&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w>.Lewis, Matthew. "African Elephant." World Wildlife. World Wildlife. Web. 18 Oct 2012. <http://worldwildlife.org/species/african-elephant>.Shoumatoff, Alex. "Agony and Ivory." Vanity Fair Aug. 2011: 120. Gale Power Search. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/08/elephants-201108>.Stiles, Daniel. "Jumbo threat: elephants as bushmeat." Natural History Apr. 2012: 12+. Gale Power Search. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA292087096&v=2.1&u= ko_k12hs_d73&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w>.