African Elephants Could Be Extinct By 2040 If We Don't Protect Them, Warns WWF

African Elephants Could Be Extinct By 2040 If We Don't Protect Them, Warns WWF

The African Elephants once held numbers as high as 3 to 5 million during the last century, now only 415,000 are left in the wild.

If we don't act right now, researchers warn that we might lose the African Elephants forever. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in a new campaign fundraiser has said the African Elephants face the fear of extinction in two decades if immediate action is not taken to preserve them, reports Newsweek.



The population of these African Elephants, at present who are the biggest animal walking the earth, has gone down by a massive 70 percent in just 40 years primarily because of the illegal ivory trade, which is the biggest driver of elephant poaching.

Statistics show that 20,000 elephants are killed every year in this trade. 



Once an elephant is killed, the poachers harvest the ivory from the tusks in order to meet the ever-increasing demand that is there to make products out of the material.

Ivory is an extremely expensive material that is used to make ornaments and decorations as well as being used in traditional Asian medicine for its therapeutic values. 



Even though there is a global ban on poaching and ivory sale, under the CITES multilateral treaty (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the poaching still happens so rampantly that it is now threatening the existence of the entire species. 



The poachers are said to be a part of powerful organized criminal networks that mainly partake in corruption, money laundering, and assassinations. One major issue that comes up while addressing the problem is that the government where the African Elephants reside often lack sufficient resources to protect and monitor elephant herds.

The herds mainly stay in remote and inaccessible habitats and often the helpless animals suffer a very brutal death. 



WWF Coordinator for West Africa, Pauwel De Wachter, released a statement, saying, "Poachers generally use Kalashnikovs or poisoned arrows. These weapons hurt the animal but do not kill them immediately. Once the elephant is on the ground, the poachers cut his tendons to immobilize it, condemning them to a painful death. So that the elephant empties more quickly of his blood, they cut his trunk." 



African Elephants are found in 37 countries across the continent and are categorized as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

According to the statistics provided by WWF, only 415,000 are left in the wild. African Elephants play a major role in the ecosystem by helping to maintain healthy habitats for many other species, primarily by helping in dispersing seeds from various plants.

The African Elephants, which are spread in two species once held numbers as high as between three and five million during the last century, but the number has shown a dramatic decline because of poaching, habitat fragmentation, and deforestation. 

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