The Short of It:
Ecologists are worrying more and more about a massive decline in elephant populations in Africa.
The Longer Version of It:
According to a new report by CNN, Africa's elephant population has dwindled down to a number of 352,271. That's a devastatingly huge downturn from the 1.3 million elephants counted on the continent back in 1979. The stark number was reported by the Great Elephant Census who were blocked from collecting information on elephant populations in three countries including Namibia chose not to release figures to the survey, and the release of number by both South Sudan and the Central African Republic have been delayed due to armed conflict.
There's really no trying to guess what has caused the plummet in these elephant populations, because the answer is so clear. In the past ten years, poachers have killed of herds of elephant families and cut the number of their populations by 75%. Other man- made threats such as construction in elephant habitats, habitat degradation and climate change are just a few of the factors. With the current rate of elephant decline at 8%, scientists expect to see no more than 175,000 African elephants in existence in the next nine years if things don't start to change.
Modern elephants evolved from a bygone era and evolutionary line that dates back to 60 million years ago. To see such a huge part of wildlife history destroyed by mankind is truly such a great tragedy. As elephants and other animals face more and more challenges in their environment and continue to be hunted down, humans should think about the ways in which they are contributing to such a huge loss to the world's arena. In so many ways the death of these behemoths are emblematic of the struggle for survival that species are set to face in the future.