How did the African Elephant become an endangered species?
African Elephants are extremely unique, beautiful and inspiring animals. The enormous mammals, scientifically classified as the Loxodonta, are a common target for illegal hunting and poaching activities. Poachers use their elegant tusks for jewelry and ivory carvings which are then sold on the black market. The demand for ivory has always been notoriously vast and in recent years has expanded even greater. This has lead to a massive drop in population for the elephants, and threatened the species immensely. In 1989 the African Elephants were added to the international list of endangered species, with only 600,000 remaining worldwide.
Where do African Elephant live?
Most African Elephants live in sub-Saharan Africa, the rain forests of Central and West Africa, and the Sahel desert in Mali. The African Elephant tends to live in a variety of habits. It is found in dense forests, open and closed savannas, grassland, and arid deserts. They are found from mountain ranges to ocean beaches. There movement patterns are full migrant. African Elephants play a big role in Africa's ecosystem, for example they pull down trees and take down brush, this makes more room for the grassland other animals require. This species of elephants help create water holes with there large heavy footprints that are deep enough for animals to drink water from. The Elephant's waste (other wise known as dung) is another very important aspect to their diverse environment. Baboons and birds are able to use the dung as a food source, picking out nuts and other left over nutrients. The nutrient-rich manure also replenishes depleted soils, creating fertile land for humans to cultivate. Overall the African Elephant helps to create biodiversity throughout its entire ecosystem.
What is the population of African Elephants and what threatens them?
As seen in the graph, over the time (between 1979 between 2012) there has been a very drastic drop in the species population. The major cause of this decrease is the threat posed to these animals from illegal poaching and hunting, for not only their tusks but also their meat. The current population of African Elephant is an estimate between 450,000 - 700,000.
What is being done to protect this species?
To help the protect the African Elephant new laws are being created in all Range States. Conservation measures are also being deployed, such as habitat management. Community- based programs in which revenue from the sport hunting of elephants reverts directly to local communities has proved effective in increasing tolerance to elephants, and has indirectly assisted by reducing levels of human-elephant conflict. Congress has also established a moratorium on the importation of the ivory of African elephants. These measures and more have all helped reduce the harmful and illegal poaching of the African Elephant.