Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tanzania Tuesday #12

The results of the Great Elephant Census have been published, and it's not good news.

Elephant population trends over the past ten years. Red = declining > 5% / year | Orange = declining 2-5% / year | Yellow = declining or increasing < 2% / year | Pale Green = increasing 2-5% / year | Dark Green = increasing > 5% / year
source: Great Elephant Census

The project, funded by Paul Allen, found that African elephant populations had dropped to about 375,000, down by 144,000 since 2007 (a 30% drop). If the rate of decline continues at the current level of  8% per year, half of Africa's elephants will be gone within nine years.

According to the Seattle Times, some of the most precipitous losses -- shown with the large areas of red on the map above -- were in Tanzania, where the census documented a decline of up to 60%.

While humans have been poaching African elephants for their tusks for centuries, the continent is currently in the midst of an elephant slaughter that is worse than at any previous point in history. Experts say that poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year which could lead to their extinction in the near future. A ban on the international sale of ivory went into force in 1990, but rising demand from Asia, and increasingly insecure political environments in Africa, have ratcheted up the number of elephants under threat.
Source: SeattleTimes.com and GreatElephantCensus.com

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