Save the Elephants

Save the Elephants

The 1941 film Dumbo was an admired film that had taken the world by storm, and Disney’s new live-action version will help audiences to fall in love with the story all over again. With new generations growing they’ll ask what Dumbo is, (he’s an elephant, of course) but with the increase of elephant poaching the next generation will never know what an elephant looks like except for a picture they find on the Internet. Despite the ban on international trade on ivory, African elephants are still being poached in large numbers. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed every year for their ivory tusks that are often used for carving ornaments or jewelry.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade, and they could be extinct by the end of 2080. An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking what they desire; an insatiable lust for ivory (Harvey, Martin. “Threats to African Elephants.” WWF, 2018, wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/endangered_species/elephants/african_elephants/afelephants_threats/.) The Asian market makes ivory trade illegal, making it extremely profitable and causing the increasing slaughter of African elephants.

The female African elephants are also killed, leading to a negative effect on the stability of elephant societies and leaving an increasing number of orphaned baby elephants. As of 2018, the ratio of elephants being born versus killed is consistently declining. In all, there are more elephants being killed than reproduced. Elephants are keystone species, meaning they create and maintain ecosystems in which they live and make it possible for plant and animal species to live in those environments as well. The loss of elephants affects many species that depend on elephant maintained ecosystems and causes major habitat chaos and a weakening to the structure and diversity of nature itself. To lose the elephant is to lose an environmental leader and an animal from which we have so much to learn.

We can save elephants by implementing stronger protection policies for wild elephants at both international and local levels of government; stronger enforcement and legislative limits against the poaching and illegal trade of ivory, better management of natural elephant habitats, and to gain a better education about the vital role about the elephant in ecosystems. Elephants are running out of space and time. Before we know it, they will be gone unless we collectively stop the senseless poaching and consumer demand for ivory and allocate protected natural habitat in countries where elephants and other wildlife can thrive now and in the future.

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