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.
Raising the funds needed to finish the fencing for female African #elephants, enabling us to rescue Kenya, one of the #Mendoza4 elephants. The same healing & joy you saw when elephants like Ramba & Lady arrived, is something Kenya deserves as well— Global Elephants (@GlobalElephants) December 3, 2019
DONATE: https://t.co/TFe3MxIU7B pic.twitter.com/wpNQWh7OMT
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.
Juvenile African Elephants Taken From Their Families Are Shipped in Cages to China— BraveAgeFilms (@BraveAgeFilms) November 27, 2019
In cell phone camera footage obtained by CNN, young elephants appear distressed as they are kept in holding cells, waiting to be exported.https://t.co/B1PxWsMOfF#AnimalCruelty #AnimalRights pic.twitter.com/YpakUqGMxO
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.
Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday! Join our fight to save real acres and protect over three million acres of savanna in Kenya for threatened species like African Elephants and Grevy's Zebra. All donations will be matched 3:1, so don't wait- make your gift today! https://t.co/OxUSK3kKr7 pic.twitter.com/8clEqwempi— Rainforest Trust (@RainforestTrust) December 2, 2019
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.
African Forest Elephant— Kemono Friends Bot (@kemofure_bot) December 3, 2019
Elephants have been referred to as "forest gardeners" due to their significant role in seed dispersal and maintaining plant diversity.-
There are many parasitic species that use African elephants as their host. pic.twitter.com/qzdpmE6LKr
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.
Poaching has reached alarming rates. Wildlife Conservation Society estimates that this year 30,000 African elephants will be killed for their ivory, over 25 million sharks will be caught for their fins, and nearly 600 rhinos will be shot down in South Africa alone for their horns— Sabyasachi Dash (@Sabyasachi_SD) December 4, 2019
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.