World Wildlife is today, March 3. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed that March 3 be World Wildlife Day. This day is dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
The theme of World Wildlife Day for 2021 is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet.” It was selected to focus on the role that forests play for people, species and ecosystems.
To celebrate this special day, our team wants to share some facts about the African forests, plants, and animals that inhabit it, like the African forest elephant.
The African forest covers over 2.2 million square miles.
The African forests can be found from east to west Africa covering almost 2.2 million square miles. However, most of the forests in Africa are located in central Africa. It is the second-largest rainforest in the world. The largest rainforest being in South America.
This forest can be found in these African countries:
The African forests account for six percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa.
For African, rainforests are a very important economic activity. According to National Geographic, products that come from the forests account for six percent of Africa’s gross domestic (GDP) - that is more than any other continent.
Forest products, like high-grade woods, are exported to bring in revenue. Some of the high-grade woods found in Africa include mahogany and Okoume. These woods are exported to countries like Japan, Israel, and the European Union.
The Congo rainforest has high levels of biodiversity - including 10,000 animal and 600 tree species.
The Congo Basin is Africa’s largest contiguous forest and considered to be the second-largest tropical rainforest. It is home to 600 trees and 10,000 animal species. Some of the Congo Basin’s most famous residents are the African forest elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, leopards, hippos and okapi. These animals play an important role in shaping and maintaining the forest’s biodiversity. However, in recent years many of these animals were placed on the endangered list.
Every year the African rainforest loses 2.8 million hectares.
Although the African forests are home to thousands of plants and animals, it is still being cut down at alarming rates. High-demand for wood, oil, minerals, crops, and wildlife trade have caused these rainforests' deforestation.
The loss of these forests has negatively impacted both animals and humans. Africa's local people use the rainforest to get food, medicine and supplies. As for wildlife, many animals have lost their homes and put them at risk of being lost forever. Some of those animals include the African forest elephant.
Over the recent years, African forest elephant populations have started to decline, putting them on the endangered list. Why have these elephant populations declined? There are three reasons: loss of habitat, poaching and slow reproduction rates. African forest elephants help shape the forests and promote biodiversity through the spreading of seeds. Losing these animals impacts the forest's ecosystem.
Help save the African forest elephant!
At For Elephants, we are researching to improve elephant reproduction rates and determine the best living conditions for African elephants. You can help us continue our research by joining the “Herd of Heroes.” There you can sign-up to make a monthly donation of your choice. Also, be sure to sign-up to our newsletter down below.