African Elephants - Forest Elephants and Savanna Elephants
March 2021: There’s news about African elephants.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recognised the African elephant as two separate species after the emergence of new evidence.
1. The Forest Elephant – the number in the wild has fallen by over 86% in three decades – they are now critically endangered, a step away from extinction
Elephants in Africa had been considered vulnerable previously. Their new listing shows the pressure they are under. In particular, forest elephants need help urgently.
Elephants have been hard hit by poaching and habitat loss.
Wildlife conservation charity Tusk say that 50 years ago, about 1.5 million elephants roamed Africa. An assessment of numbers in 2016 suggests there were only 415,000 still roaming.
It’s important that governments set new targets to tackle climate change and protect earth’s biodiversity. Elephants need help.
Key to the recovery of their numbers will be an end to poaching and the provision of enough suitable habitat for elephants. Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General noted that several African countries have proven in recent years that elephant declines can be reversed so it is critical that their examples are followed.
Three key factors critical to successful elephant conservation are:
- Anti-poaching measures
- More supportive legislation
- Land use planning which helps human-wildlife co-existence
Some forest elephants for example, say that IUCN, have stabilised in the conservation areas in Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. Forests elephants are believed to occupy just a quarter of their historic range today
Savanna elephant numbers have been stable or growing particularly in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which has the largest subpopulation of this species in Africa. They like open country and is found in various Sub-Saharan African habitats, including grasslands and deserts.
- ZSL is working to help forest elephants in Cameroon, specifically in the forest landscape of the Dja Biosphere Reserve.
- The African Wildlife Foundation has more information about forest elephants.
- The Aspinall Foundation funds and coordinates PALF, an anti-wildlife crime project in Congo and it works with the ANPN in Gabon (Gabon’s National Park Authorities) to protect forest elephants.
- WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) works to help Savanna elephants https://www.wcs.org/our-work/species/african-elephants
There are more elephant charities here.
PLUS! News of a special appeal!
The World Land Trust has launched its first appeal of 2021 to help Tanzania's coastal forests and a crucial corridor for elephants, lions, leopards and others.
Find out more and please donate if you can and spread the word at the World Land Trust's website
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