Threats to Elephants

Poaching

The Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute published last week the following statement:
“In the last six years 60 % of the Tanzanian Elephants have been slaughtered.  At least 65.000 elephants are killed by poachers to contribute to the demand for Ivory on the mainly Chinese market.
Especially in Ruaha and Rungwa 11.500 out of 20.000 elephants were killed only in 2013.”

Although poaching of elephants for their ivory has declined since the 1989 worldwide ivory ban, it remains a widespread problem. Large quantities of African ivory, for example, are still finding their way to illegal markets in Africa and beyond. Elephants are also killed for their meat and hides.

While the illegal trade in ivory remains a real threat, current concern for the survival of the African elephant centres mostly around the reduction of their habitat.

Increasing conflict with people

Elephants need a lot of food and freedom to survive. They wander in small to large herds over sometimes incredibly large areas, while consuming up to several hundred kilograms of plant matter in a single day.

Elephants, in fact, place such great demands on their own environment that they frequently come into conflict with people who are competing for many of the same, often scarce, resources.

As habitats contract and human populations expand, people and elephants are increasingly coming into contact and conflict with each other, which the elephants invariably lose.

Inevitably, loss of life sometimes occurs on both sides, as people get trampled while trying to protect their livelihood, and “problem” elephants get shot by guards.

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