Elephant population devastatingly low, survey reveals

CONSERVATIONISTS have been shocked by the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), which revealed that the number of Africa’s savannah elephants is far less than originally believed.

After two years of canvassing over 18 African countries the survey, lead by elephant ecologist and founder of Elephants Without Borders (EWB), Mike Chase, has determined that only 352 271 Savannah elephants have survived the recent devastating prevalence of poaching.

Glenashley’s animal activist, Mariana Fernandes, who is a core strategist for The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER), said while the statistics were alarming they were not surprising.

“Between 2007 and 2014 Africa lost 30 per cent of it animal population, that is 144 000 Savannah elephants,” she said.

Fernandes said it is believed that this decline is due to a decision made by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2008, whereby the organisation temporality approved the release of ivory stockpiles.

“Since then there has been a sudden decline in the species,” she said.

According to Fernandes, their biggest concern lies with the annual COP 17 event to held in Johannesburg from 24 November.

“South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe are pushing to legalise the trade of ivory and to sell their ivory stocks. If this happens it will be devastating to the population,” she said.

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  AUTHOR
Mariclair Smit
Journalist

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