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Global Environment

Is elephant conservation backfiring?

African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the largest living terrestrial animals in the world, located in dense forests, miombo woodlands and deserts across Eastern, Western and Southern Africa.

Photo credit: Derek Keats

This animal has been historically poached for the ivory trade, decimating numbers that once swelled to over a million to a few thousands by the late 20th century. Conservation programmes, coupled with stringent regulation on illegal poaching and black market trade of ivory have managed to give these majestic animals a fighting chance for survival. However, a surprising new threat is placing elephants at risk, this time a direct result of these conservation efforts.

WARNING! The following video contains some graphic images of dead/dying elephants

Full article can be found at Frontier’s Gap Year Blog:

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  1. bellacosta2013

    Relocation is the only probable short term answer to avoid the destruction of the animals, but the animals would need to relocate together as entire herds. Family bonds are incredibly strong. This would be a mammoth task, only possible for the park board, with the help of massive international assistance – not only financially but in expertise and manpower.

    It is unfortunate that in trying to protect them – necessary at the time – we’ve signed their death warrants. This is why reserves across Africa do not interfere, if the danger the animals face is a natural one like drought. Our remit is to protect species from our selves and give nature the space to do what nature does.

    Switching off the water would be unfair. We have created the problem, we need to fix the problem. Immediate short term solutions need to be found. Perhaps, for the long term, the waterholes could be switched off slowly, a few at a time, until in ten years or so, the elephants are reliant on natural water sources only. Perhaps the decreasing availability of water, will slow their breeding patterns.

    There will be no easy answer and I pity the people who not only have to find the solution, but implement it. Good Luck.

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