New Assessment by IUCN on African elephants

The Red List by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently showed that, African elephants living in forests and savannas are increasingly threatened with extinction. Following which, conservationists have called for an urgent end to poaching.

Highlights

New assessments by IUCN underscore the persistent pressures that two species of elephants in Africa faces due to poaching for ivory and human encroachment. The survey also highlights that, savanna elephant was “endangered” while the smaller, lighter forest elephant was “critically endangered” as highest category before they got extinct from wild. Earlier, IUCN had treated both the species of elephants as “Vulnerable”. But later it separated them on the basis of genetic evidences which highlighted the difference between both the species.

Population of Savanna Elephants

Data from IUCN cited that populations of savanna elephants from Africa are found in a variety of habitats which had decreased by around 60% over last 50 years. Number of forest elephants found in Central Africa had also fallen by 86% in 31 years. Presently, number of both the species of elephant’s accounts for 415,000. However, populations of some forest elephants were rebounding because of successful conservation measures like, measures taken by Gabon and Republic of Congo. As per IUCN, in Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area of South Africa, numbers of savanna were also stable or growing.

African elephant

It is a genus with two living elephant species that is, African bush elephant and smaller African forest elephant. Both the species are social herbivores having grey skin but they have different size and colour of their tusks.  They are considered at heavy risk of extinction in the IUCN Red List.  Bush elephant is considered endangered while forest elephant is considered critically endangered. Species are threatened by habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and poaching for the illegal ivory trade.

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