Thursday, September 01, 2016

COTW: African Elephants Facing Extinction From Poaching

 source: CITES MIKE Program
A new study, the Great Elephant Census and reported by the BBC says that African elephants are still dying at an alarming rate.  A third of the African population has died off in just seven years, and half of the remaining elephants may be gone within nine years if something drastic is not done to stop the devastation of poaching. In Cameroon there are only 148 elephants still living.  Elephants know they are under threat from man.  Before elephants in southern Africa would cross four national boundaries in their migrations, now they stop at the Botswana boarder where they were relatively safe.  Satellite telemetry demonstrates this radical change in their behavior.  But the two year census shows that Botswana is rapidly loosing its safe haven status as poachers begin to target the elephants living there.  Elephants require a large living space and the greater number of refugees is putting increasing pressure on the environment while bringing them into conflict with humans.  Elephants Without Boarders has recently counted 21 fresh elephant carcasses in Botswana, the first recorded major incidents of poaching in the country. As the chart above shows, the loss of elephants is greater than their natural rate of reproduction (red line) and has been so for this century.  Such decimation cannot continue if the elephant is to survive in the wild.