The African elephant population has fallen by 30% over the past seven years, primarily driven by poaching, hunting, habitat loss and human-elephant conflict. International organisations including the WWF are researching and raising awareness of the issue, while local authorities on the African continent are implementing action plans to protect elephant populations. Campaigners have called for more effective regulation of the ivory trade, commending recent decisions by the Chinese and UK governments, among others, to curb demand for ivory.
Outrage over Large Decline of African Elephant Population
The African elephant, the largest land animal on earth, is now facing a critical situation of dwindling numbers. According to statistics, the elephant population in Africa has declined by 30% over the last seven years. This is a major concern for wildlife enthusiasts, conservationists, and animal lovers around the world.
Reasons for the Decline
Elephant hunting, poaching, human-elephant conflict, and habitat loss are the primary reasons for the decline of the African elephant population. Although elephant hunting has been banned in many African countries for decades, it still occurs illegally. Poaching for elephant ivory is the biggest cause of the decline, where elephant tusks are sold in the black market, mainly in Asia.
Human-elephant conflict occurs when elephants enter human settlements in search of food and water. This leads to damage to crops, property, and loss of human lives. Habitat loss due to deforestation, mining, and agricultural activities also leads to a decline in the elephant population.
Several conservation efforts are underway to save the African elephant from extinction. The African Elephant Action Plan (AEAP) adopted by African nations in 2010 aims to protect elephants and their habitats, improve governance, and increase law enforcement. The plan also focuses on increasing awareness among local communities and reducing human-elephant conflict.
Non-government organizations such as WWF, Save the Elephants, and Elephant Without Borders are also working towards elephant conservation. They conduct research, create awareness, lobby policymakers, and support field projects to protect and conserve elephants.
The Need for International Support
The African elephant population decline is not just an African problem but an international issue. International support is needed to reduce demand for ivory, combat poaching, and support conservation efforts. The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulates ivory trade internationally. However, it is still not effective enough in preventing illegal ivory trade and poaching.
Several countries have taken commendable steps to reduce demand for ivory. China, the world’s largest ivory market, banned its domestic ivory trade in 2017, leading to a drop in ivory prices and a decline in demand. The United States has also implemented strict regulations on ivory trade, while the UK has banned all ivory trade within its borders.
The African elephant population decline is a crisis that requires urgent action. Conservation efforts need to be strengthened, international support needs to be increased, and anti-poaching laws and regulations need to be enforced. It is not only important for the survival of the elephants but also for maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity. It is the responsibility of every individual, organization, and country to act now and stop the decline of the African elephant population.
What is the African Elephant Action Plan (AEAP)?
The African Elephant Action Plan (AEAP) is a plan adopted by African nations in 2010 to protect elephants and their habitats, improve governance, and increase law enforcement. The plan also focuses on increasing awareness among local communities and reducing human-elephant conflict.
Why are elephants hunted for their tusks?
Elephants are hunted for their tusks, which are made of ivory. Ivory is a highly valuable commodity, and it is mainly sold in the black market, mainly in Asia.
Why is habitat loss a concern for elephant conservation?
Habitat loss due to deforestation, mining, and agricultural activities leads to a decline in the elephant population. Elephants need vast areas of land and adequate food and water resources to survive. Habitat loss also leads to human-elephant conflict, where elephants enter human settlements in search of food and water.