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article imageAfrican forest elephants face extinction

By Jane Fazackarley     Mar 6, 2013 in Environment
For years the existence of the African forest elephant has been under threat and now an alarming new report shows just how endangered they are. The report says that the elephants face the threat of extinction and possibly within a decade.
Details of the new study are featured on the Wildlife Conservation Society website. The study, which has been published in the PLOS one journal, says that more than 60% of the African forest elephants have been killed in the past decade and all for the purpose of the ivory trade.
The decline in the population of the forest elephants is widespread with the results of the study showing a fall in numbers throughout Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dr. Samantha Strindberg of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) was one of the lead authors of the study. Commenting in a press release he said:
“The analysis confirms what conservationists have feared: the rapid trend towards extinction – potentially within the next decade – of the forest elephant.”
And Dr. Fiona Maisels, who also led the study, said:
“Saving the species requires a coordinated global effort in the countries where elephants occur – all along the ivory smuggling routes, and at the final destination in the Far East. We don’t have much time before elephants are gone.”
The study was the largest of its kind and includes nine years of data and the work of more than sixty scientists. The African forest elephants are in danger from many other factors such as high governance and high infrastructure density but the report highlights the hunting of the elephants for their tusks as the biggest threat to the African forest elephant’s existence and say that face being “poached out of existence”.
In a press release, Dr. George Wittemyer of Save the Elephants and Colorado State University said:
“This study provides unequivocal evidence of the rapid demise of one of the planet’s most charismatic and intelligent species. The world must wake up to stem this destruction of species due to conspicuous consumption.”
The study is timely as it was released at the same time of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Bangkok where representatives from more than 170 countries have gathered; issues affecting wildlife such as poaching and smuggling will be discussed.
Another report released on March 6 also highlighted concerns over the future of the African Elephant population as the illegal trade in ivory shows no signs of abating.
More about Elephant, African forest elephant, ivory trade, ivory poaching
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