Elephants are at risk of being lost forever. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, African savanna elephants are endangered, and African forest elephants are critically endangered. What is causing elephant populations to decline?
The top causes of elephant population declines are poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflicts and not self-sustaining in zoos. If these issues are not resolved, experts predict that African elephants will be extinct by 2040. What is currently being done to save elephants? Our team is here to share some of the conservation strategies for African elephants.
The top conservation strategies for African elephants
Putting a stop to poaching
It is estimated that 100 elephants are killed every single day due to poaching. Poachers hunt down elephants for their tusks, meat and even skin. These body parts are then sold in illegal trade. Although there is an international ban on the ivory trade, this has not stopped poaching and the demand for ivory. What is being done to stop poaching? Wildlife organizations are using technology to better manage wildlife parks, educate the public and work to create policies that protect elephants from poachers.
Tracking elephants’ movements
Elephants are always on the move. Sometimes elephants can get into places that are not safe for them or people. That is why nonprofit organizations, like Elephants Alive, place collars on elephants to better understand elephants’ movements. Through their data, they are able to find better ways to reduce human-elephant conflict. This information keeps reserve managers, conservationists and villagers informed about the movement patterns of elephants.
Placing fences to reduce human-elephant conflicts
Elephants are losing their homes and ancient migratory routes due to agriculture, infrastructure and human encroachment. The loss of their homes has caused an increase in human-elephant conflicts. Elephants could make their way into human territory and endanger themselves and humans.
Wildlife organizations are working to reduce human-elephant conflicts through the use of beehive fence lines. Elephants are afraid of bees and will avoid areas with them. Beehives are placed near farmers’ crops to keep elephants away. This strategy is a safe, effective and inexpensive solution.
Saving orphaned elephants
Often poachers go after mother elephants. These mothers sometimes get killed and leave behind baby elephants who are very dependent on their milk. Without their mothers, these baby elephants might only survive a week or two. Luckily, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and other organizations save these elephants by nursing and raising them to survive in the wild.
Researching an elephant’s reproductive cycle
Currently, zoo elephants are not self-sustaining. There are more deaths of zoo elephants than births. For every three births there are five deaths annually. The reason behind this problem is the high infertility rates in elephants. At For Elephants, we are using endocrine (hormone) research to study reproduction, health and welfare to increase reproductive rates and improve welfare for elephants in zoos.
Support one of the conservation strategies for African elephants today!
You can support elephant conservation by joining the Herd of Heroes. Our program allows you to make a monthly donation of your choice that supports our mission to improve the lives of wild and zoo elephants. Join down below!