The African elephant is increasingly at risk of extinction

Since 2004, it has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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The African elephant is increasingly at risk of extinction

The African elephant is increasingly at risk of extinction. To indicate the right path there are some reserves where, thanks to careful management, the pachyderm population has stabilized or even grown. This is the case of the elephants that live in the protected areas of Gabon and the Republic of Congo or the elephants of the savannah that live in the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier conservation area, spread over the territory of five different countries.

Benson Okita-Ouma of the IUCN said: "These are very marked downturns. these data are launching a first alarm: if we do not reverse the trend, we risk seeing extinction. of these animals. If we don't plan land use properly, these animals will continue to be killed indirectly even if we stop poaching and illegal hunting." The continent has just 415,000 elephants who suffer and move in the great plains thus occupying various habitats of sub-Saharan Africa, concentrating their presence in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"90% of the ivory arrives in Nigeria and ends up financing the jihadist rebels Boko Haram. This is a real cross-border fight against organized crime and even against terrorism," explained Lee White, minister of water. African elephant is in danger of disappearing completely, as we can read in a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The elephant population of the savannah has declined by more than 60% in the past 50 years. The African savanna elephant is geographically distributed in 37 African countries and inhabits forests, grasslands and woodlands, wetlands and agricultural lands.

Since 2004, it has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It is threatened mainly by habitat destruction and in some parts of its range also by poaching for meat and ivory. It is a social mammal, traveling in herds composed of females and their offspring led by a matriarch.

Adult males usually live alone or in small bachelor groups. It is a herbivore, which feeds on grasses, creepers, leaves and bark. There are two species of elephant native to Africa, which makes the term African elephant rather vague.

The second species belonging to the genus Loxodonta is the African forest elephant, which has only recently been recognized as a separate species.