African Elephants

African Elephants

African elephants could be extinct in the wild within a decade

African elephants are among the most iconic symbols of the majesty of nature. They are highly social herbivores who travel in groups. There are two living species in Africa, the African bush elephant and the African forest elephant, and four extinct species identified through fossil remains. African elephants are distinguished from their Asian counterparts by their larger overall size, as well as their larger ears and tusks.

It is estimated that there may have been more than 26 million African elephants in the late 19th century. By the time of the first elephant census in 1974, there were approximately 1.34 million. As of 2019, their numbers were down to approximately 415,000. At current rates, African elephants could be extinct in the wild within a decade or two. This precipitous decline has numerous causes including loss of habitat, human-elephant conflict, poaching, and others.

African elephants once ranged across large swaths of the continent. However, a 2007 UN Survey showed their range has been reduced to approximately 15% of total land cover. This reduction includes more exact mapping of their territory, as well as habitat loss. Since 1989, African elephants have been listed as ‘Endangered’ by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Sources:

24/7 Wall St: How Many Elephants are Left in the Wild: https://247wallst.com/special-report/2019/08/07/how-many-elephants-are-left-in-the-wild/

CITES: The CITES Appendices https://cites.org/eng/app/index.php

UN Environment Programme: https://www.grida.no/resources/8035

Wikipedia: African Elephant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_elephant

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