Elephants are large mammals belonging to the Elephantidae family, within the order Proboscidea. Two types of elephants are distinguished, the African and the Asian, naturally present on their respective continents. Due to various factors derived from human activity, currently, the different species of the two types of elephants are in danger of extinction.
In this AgroCorrn article we will discuss why elephants are in danger of extinction , taking into account the causes and the most affected species, as well as ways to avoid this situation.
- Why Elephants Are Endangered – Causes
- Is the African elephant in danger of extinction?
- Is the Asian elephant in danger of extinction?
- How to help endangered elephants
Why Elephants Are Endangered – Causes
Among the main causes that elephants are in danger of extinction we highlight the following:
Illegal or poaching
Despite the fact that in 1989 the Convention on CITES or International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, prohibited the commercialization of ivory internationally, currently there continues to be a significant demand for this material, which translates into an increase of elephant poaching rate . It is for this reason that large-scale illegal hunting is one of the main problems facing elephant conservation in countries such as the United States of America, China or Thailand, where illegal ivory markets persist.
You can learn more about this problem in this other AgroCorrn article on the Causes and consequences of poaching animals .
Habitat degradation and loss
Currently, the areas where elephants live, as well as the routes they use in their migrations, are suffering degradation and reduction due to the expansion of human settlements, plantations and the continued construction of infrastructure such as roads, canals, etc. This loss of their habitat exacerbates the conflict between elephants and humans , as the animals are forced to invade human-occupied areas in search of food, negatively affecting farmers who are ruining their fields. One of the most important forms of habitat destruction is through deforestation, which destroys the forests inhabited by certain species of elephants. Of course, local and global pollution, as well as global warming are also factors that influence habitat destruction.
Here you can learn more general information about the Destruction of the environment and habitat, its causes and consequences .
Is the African elephant in danger of extinction?
The African elephants are the largest land animals in the world. Genetic studies have shown that the African elephant, belonging to the genus Loxodonta , differs into two separate species: the savanna elephant ( Loxodonta africana) and the forest elephant ( Loxodonta cyclotis ), which diverged evolutionarily between 2 and 7 million ago of years.
The African savanna elephant is the larger of the two and is more widely distributed across the African continent than the forest one. Both the African savanna elephant and African forest elephant have been classified in the category of vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Is the Asian elephant in danger of extinction?
The Asian elephant , for its part, has three subspecies: the Sri Lankan elephant ( Elephas maximus maximus ), the Indian elephant or Indian elephant ( Elephas maximus indicus ) and the Sumatran elephant ( Elephas maximus sumatranus ). Additionally, there is a fourth type of Asian elephant, the Borneo elephant, of which it is doubted if it can be classified as a separate subspecies or if, on the contrary, it is the Indian elephant, since its exact origin is unknown .
The Sri Lankan elephant is the largest and darkest colored Asian elephant subspecies. As its name indicates, it inhabits Sri Lanka and, currently, this and other species of elephants are in danger of extinction due to the fact that both their populations and their area of distribution have been significantly reduced during the last century as a result of deforestation. and for animal exploitation , especially for tourism issues. The Indian elephant, lighter in color than the Sri Lankan elephant but darker than the Sumatran elephant, is also in danger of extinction according to the IUCN. The Sumatran elephant differs from the other two Asian elephant subspecies in that it has a lighter skin color. According toIUCN Red List, this Asian elephant is critically endangered . In this other article you can learn more about the endangered Sumatran elephant .
How to help endangered elephants
Once you understand why elephants are in danger of extinction, you have to try to become aware of the seriousness of this situation, since the disappearance of species always has repercussions on their ecosystems and, sometimes, these can be very serious and may affect the ecosystem. find it difficult to balance again, among other things. So, if you want to know how to help elephants to avoid their extinction , let’s see below the ways in which you can help mitigate this situation.
- It is necessary to reduce the conflict between elephants and humans . For this, there are immediate measures to raise awareness of the populationabout this issue in order to increase their support for elephant conservation. This measure falls on the teaching of new methods and tools to mitigate this conflictive situation both to local communities and to wildlife agents in the affected areas. These tools include techniques to safely drive elephants out of human-populated areas and return to the forests, as well as the normalization of human-elephant coexistence and the potential benefits derived from this, such as those that entail sustainable and responsible tourism. Another measure consists of the installation of warning systems that protect farmland by monitoring elephants or building defensive fences. Long-term,
- Increase efforts against poaching or illegal hunting by training professionals dedicated to its monitoring and prevention, as well as increasing patrols in protected areas and conducting periodic assessments of the distribution and number of elephants. In turn, it is necessary to develop action plans at the national level for the conservation and protection of elephants that can be used by governments in taking conservation measures, as well as for the establishment of national parks that protect certain habitats and its fauna. Here you can find out more about How to avoid poaching .
- Elimination of illegal ivory trade by monitoring international wildlife trade that reduces threats to elephants. There is an Elephant Trafficking Information System (ETIS) that identifies routes and countries of particular importance in the illegal ivory trade.
- Protection of elephant habitats through the collaboration of governments, the population and non-governmental organizations, with the aim of ensuring the future of elephants. This includes, for example, the establishment of transboundary conservation areas, such as the Kavango-Zambezi, which provides shelter for about 250,000 elephants.
- Research is needed to establish new protected areas and improve management in existing ones. The level of effectiveness of conservation projects lies in the evaluation of the conservation status of the different populations existing in different parts of Africa and Asia to better direct conservation efforts to the areas that most require it. In this other post you can learn about The importance of reserves and protected areas .
- In a more individual way, you can help protect elephants by collaborating with associations and NGOs dedicated to the protection of these and other animals, either financially and / or with volunteers.
In this other AgroCorrn article we explain why it is important to protect endangered animals and we also give more ideas on how we can help prevent their disappearance.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why elephants are in danger of extinction , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .
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