Elephants in Africa are a crucial part of the ecosystem yet they face many dangers. Aside from their natural enemies and the diminishing resources available to them due to global warming, elephants also have to deal with the threat of poaching. Saving elephants in Africa is one of the very important conservation efforts of that area.
It is an unfair match between the animals and groups of poachers that the elephants can’t escape. Yet not all men are the enemies of the elephants. Some have taken on the task of saving elephants in Africa. They are spending time and resources to protect these animals.
Poaching in African Countries
Poaching is a lucrative business in Africa where elephants are hunted for the ivory of their tusks. The ivory is later sold on the black market for large profits. In poverty-stricken African countries it is an alluring enterprise that attracts people to poaching. Even though it damages the very environment that they live in. However you may feel about the illegal ivory trade, as long as there is an economic incentive it will continue to happen.
It’s becoming more and more clear that saving elephants in Africa is something that the countries of that continent should be focusing on. A study released today shows that the population of savannah elephants declined by 30% between 2007 and 2014. The number of savannah elephants left is 400,000 and it is dropping by 8% every year.
Another study found that between 2010 and 2012, in the short span of just two years 100,000 elephants were killed for their tusks. According to estimates, 700 tons of mostly illegal ivory leave Africa each year. That is the equivalent of tusks from about 70,000 elephants. And the ivory trade has only been increasing, fueled by rising demand for the commodity in emerging markets in Asia. In the face of such numbers and such high demand saving these animals from a terrible fate is a challenge.
Working to Save Elephants
Saving elephants in Africa isn’t easy. In Kenya, three years ago the situation was dire. Because of poachers shooting them, elephants almost disappeared from the landscape. Now, rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service and anti-poachers from the local community work together to stop poaching.
An organization called “Save the Elephants” is mobilizing a lot of resources in the fight to protect elephants from poaching. They survey the savannah in northern Kenya trying to create a safe space for the elephants to live.
Local, grass-roots initiatives are also important to making conservationist efforts work. In Kenya, after starting a conversation with local community leaders, they use local resources to create small conservancies. Where that has happened ivory poaching has gone down. As an added benefit, security has improved and inter-tribe conflict has declined.
Elephants are slow-reproducing animals. So getting the population of elephants back to what it used to be is going to take decades. But the efforts of organizations like “Save the Elephants” mean that many elephants will be safe from poachers. They will live to see another day. Therefore, keeping the numbers of the elephant population stable and keeping hope alive for the conservation effort in Africa.
Image source: here.