Researchers at the University of Washington recently said the elephant death rate from poaching was currently 8 per cent, higher than the 7.4 per cent rate which led to the international ivory trade ban in 1989.
Samuel Wasser, one of the researchers, warned that African elephants – largest living land animal- are being pushed into extinction and could be extinct by 2020.
The African Elephant, which can easily consume up to 225 kilograms of fruit, grass, and leaves in a day, is divided into two subspecies: The African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana), and the African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis).
The differences between the two are merely on the physical aspect – The African Forest Elephant tends to have rounder ears and is significantly smaller than its counterpart.
Besides poaching, African Elephants faces another major challenge: The calves have chances of dying in a drought, or falling prey to lions and crocodiles.
The population in the 1980s was around 1 million, with around 70,000 elephants being killed a year. The total African elephant population is now less than 470,000.
Sad. Isn’t it? So the next time you go on an African bush safari just take your time in the bush and get as many photos of the African Elephant as possible. You never know. If nothing is done to stop the exploitation of these creatures, then those photos might be used as reference material by future generations.