savanna elephant

A $7 million, comprehensive census of African elephants has found that the population decreased by nearly a third between 2007 and 2014.

The Great Elephant Census was conducted over three years, and set out to effectively count every savanna elephant in 18 countries in Africa, accounting for 93 percent of the savanna elephants in those countries. The conclusion — that the population declined by 144,000 animals in just seven years — is sobering.

The results were published in the journal PeerJ.

“If we can’t protect the world’s largest land mammal, the prognosis for wildlife conservation is bleak,” says Mike Chase, the lead scientist on the project and the founder of an elephant conservation group based in Botswana called Elephants Without Borders.

African Elephant Population Declines By 30 Percent

Photo: Elephants Without Borders

The African Elephant

General Info-
African elephants are distinguished from Asian elephants in several ways, the most noticeable being their much larger ears. Also, the African elephant is typically larger than the Asian elephant and has a concave back. In Asian elephants, only males have tusks, but both males and females of African elephants have tusks and are usually less hairy than their Asian cousins. African elephants have traditionally been classified as a single species comprising two distinct subspecies, namely the savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). Loxodonta africana refers specifically to the savanna elephant, the largest of all elephants. It is the largest land animal, with males standing 10 feet (3.2 metres) to 13 feet (4 metres) at the shoulder and weighing 7,7000 pounds (3,500 kilograms) up to a reported 26,000 pounds(12,000 kilograms). The female is smaller, standing about 9.8 feet (3 metres)  at the shoulder. Most often, savanna elephants are found in open grasslands, marshes, and lakeshores. They range over much of the savanna zone south of the Sahara.  The forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), is usually smaller and rounder, and its tusks thinner and straighter compared with the savanna elephant. The forest elephant can weigh up to 9,900 pounds (4,500 kilograms) and stand about 10 feet (3 metres) tall. Much less is known about these animals than their savanna cousins, because environmental and political obstacles make them difficult to study. Normally, they inhabit the dense African rain forests of central and western Africa, although occasionally they roam the edges of forests, thus overlapping the savanna elephant home ranges and hybridizing.

50 to 60 years generally.

Conservation Status-
Making a recovery since more efforts to protect them and their ivory were made.

Neymar and Gisele Bündchen tackle deadly illegal trade in wildlife

Barcelona star Neymar has teamed up with Brazilian fashion model and actress Gisele Bündchen in a bid to tackle the deadly illegal trade in wildlife.

The Brazilian international will involve children from his Neymar Jr. Project Institute in the United Nations campaign.

“When my friend Gisele told me about the Wild For Life campaign to protect so many endangered animals, I had to act,” Neymar Jr. said.

“Football unites us all in a common goal. Winning as part of a team. We need to think of ourselves as global citizens, one great team that can win against the greed and ignorance that is allowing wildlife crime to flourish.”

The illegal trade in wildlife is a global problem that threatens species including elephants, rhinos, and tigers to pangolins, sea turtles, and rosewood.

Poaching has driven a 30 per cent decrease in African savanna elephants in the last four years, while three rhinos are killed every day.

Profits from the illegal wildlife trade often go into the pockets of international criminal networks, threatening peace and security, and damaging the livelihoods of local communities who depend on tourism.  

Neymar, therefore, wanted to add his name to the #WildforLife campaign, aims to mobilise millions of people to make commitments and take action to end the illegal trade.