published on 12 August 2021 in life

World Elephant Day

Today, August 12, we celebrate World Elephant Day as a reminder that there are currently less than 450,000 elephants surviving in Africa. In 2021, both forest elephants (Loxodonta africana) and savannah elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) were included in the highest risk categories for the first time in the red list drawn up by the IUCN the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The African savannah elephant is considered to be ‘endangered’, while the African forest elephant is listed as ‘critically endangered’ risking extinction, the highest level of alert. The most important threats to these pachyderms are the climate change and the consequent more frequent heat waves and droughts; poaching, largely due to the demand for ivory; loss of habitat and conflicts with local populations. The battle against poaching, the introduction of stricter and more effective laws (including those regarding the ivory trade) and better management and protection of the areas where elephants still live, with the priority objective of promoting peaceful coexistence between humans and elephants, are crucial actions for their conservation. In some reserves, with careful management, the elephant population has actually increased in the last years. While the decline of elephants is evident, it is possible to reverse the trend.

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