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World Elephant Day

12 August 2016

© Michael Viljoen
© Michael Viljoen
The dramatic escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to elephant.
A March 2013 inter-agency report by UNEP, CITES, IUCN and TRAFFIC, titled Elephants in the Dust, states that elephant are now at dire risk due to a dramatic rise in poaching for their ivory. Increasing poaching levels, as well as loss of habitat, are threatening the survival of African elephant populations. A 2014 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) estimates that 100 000 African elephant were slaughtered by poachers between 2010 and 2012. In March 2016, CITES stated that more African elephant are being killed for ivory than are being born, due to the high levels of poaching.
© Michael Viljoen
© Michael Viljoen
In addition, political boundaries, rapidly growing human populations, their ensuing demands on the land resource, man-made physical barriers, civil strife and associated land transformation have blocked century-old migration routes to access food and water and contributed to high elephant concentrations. Transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) open up the range available to large migratory species such as elephant. One of these, the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) TFCA, has the largest contiguous population of African elephant on the continent, numbering approximately a quarter of a million animals.
As elephant populations become increasingly constrained, so the need for safe corridors between protected areas becomes all the more important. Research has shown that the elephant of northern Botswana are part of a large contiguous elephant population with movement patterns through western Zimbabwe, the Zambezi Region of Namibia, southeast Angola and southwest Zambia.

In 2015, the KAZA TFCA master integrated development plan (IDP) was approved by the five partner countries. The IDP identifies six geographically specific areas, known as wildlife dispersal areas that emphasise the interconnectivity of the various protected areas and that will allow for migration, thereby easing environmental pressures on certain areas and decreaasing human-wildlife conflict.

About World Elephant Day

On 12 August 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.

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