Population of Africa’s elephants declining at a rate of nearly 8% per year: Survey

Population of Africa’s elephants declining at a rate of nearly 8% per year: Survey

The highly loved elephants in Africa are widely endangered. A survey published this week found that poachers killed off roughly 30% of the savanna elephants in the continent between 2007 and 2014.Now, the elephant’s populationis falling at a rate of about 8%every year.

There are two species of African elephants, wherein savanna elephants are found in grasslands in east and southern Africa, and the very small forest elephants, recognized as a distinct species lately, roam dense central and western jungles.

The survey named the Great Elephant Census, didn’t try to look for forest elephants, mainly because you can’t see them from the air. But as per other research, their plight is as desperate as that of their savanna relatives. According to one estimate illegal forest elephants’killings for their tusks led to a 62% drop in their numbers from 2002 to 2013.

Sadly, there is no scope of a rebound for the species anytime soon. The Journal of Applied Ecology carried a report saying that forest elephants are one of the slowest-reproducing mammals on our planet. Researchers calculated that in case all poaching is stopped immediately, forest elephant populations would take 90 years to return to pre-2002 levels.

The study co-author George Wittemyer, an ecologist at Colorado State University, said, “We already knew about scale and severity of poaching, but what wasn’tknown before was long-term ramifications of that poaching. This paper shows that things are substantially worse than we expected for forest elephants in terms of how fast they can rebound”.

The researchers reached on the study findings after roughly 25 years of monitoring. Back in 1990, a Wildlife Conservation Society scientist Andrea Turkalo started observing forest elephants at DzangaNdoki National Park in the Central African Republic.


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