Saving lives and tourism revenue

Wildlife conservationists in Africa have welcomed with great hopes a recent decision by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to upgrade the African elephant to the critically-endangered species.

  1. Elephant populations provide unique photographic safaris that attract millions of tourists in Africa providing a huge source of tourism revenue.
  2. A persistent demand for elephant ivory has dramatically reduced the elephant population across the African continent.
  3. The forest elephants’ population has plummeted by 86 percent in the last 31 years while that of the savanna elephants has dropped by 60 percent in the last 50 years.

This decision will raise more awareness on the protection of the African elephants, both the savanna and forest elephant, once under an endangered species category.

The latest report published last month by the IUCN, which is the global authority on the status of the natural world, announced the upgrade on its Red List of Threatened Species. It said the elephant species face existential threats as their populations are declining due to poaching and habitat loss.

The latest IUCN Red List includes 134,425 species, 37,480 of which are threatened with extinction. Over 8,000 species are listed as Critically Endangered and over 14,000 as Endangered. But it’s the new status of the African elephants that attracted the most attention.

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