Elephant Conservation Efforts
Due to the continually drop in numbers, all elephants in the world are protected and conservation efforts are in place. Even so, it is difficult to tell how effective they have been. Illegal poaching of elephants occurs in many locations and this is a serious problem. One of the major roles of these conservation efforts is to see stricter laws enforced for those caught in the act of trying to kill an elephant. Still, the amount of money that they can make selling the ivory is often enticing.
In some parts of Africa it is now legal to hunt elephants. Even with pressure from conservation groups and other countries this is going on. While Africa does set limits many fear that they aren’t closely monitored. The fact that so few elephants remain makes it puzzling that this government would deem it acceptable to needlessly kill them.
The destruction of their natural habitat is a serious problem. Elephants can consume up to 600 pounds of food a day. It is hard to find when their natural habitat continues to be destroyed. Even keeping them in captivity isn’t a good answer due to the high cost of feeding them. The other problem with this is that elephants are continually on the move. When their area to do so is limited they are going to deplete all of the resources in a given location. There isn’t ample time for it to rejuvenate before the herd returns to it at a later time.
Right now the actual population of elephants in the world is unknown. It is believed though that in the past 25 years it has dropped by 2/3. This is very serious and it means that aggressive conservation efforts need to be part of keeping them alive. The fact that it takes 22 months for a new calf to be born means that it is hard to increase numbers very rapidly as well.
Most people don’t realize how valuable the elephants are for many other forms of life out there. Termites and dung beetles are some of them that won’t be able to survive with them. This is because they feed off of the bodily waste from the elephants. Birds gain food sources too because as the elephants walk through the grass they stir up a variety of creatures that the birds feed upon.
The older trees and plants that the elephants consume and remove out there clear areas for new types of plant life to grow. They also help other animals to find the water that they need to survive. Elephants can dig very deep and very fast with their tusks to get to the water. Without this them and other animals would die when it is the extremely dry time of the year.
Many people travel all over the world, and shopping is a come way to spend that time. Never buy any item that is made from ivory though. By avoiding doing so you will bring down the value of it because of a lower demand. That is one part of conservation efforts – to make ivory not so valuable. Then the elephants won’t continue to be killed for it.
The biggest issue right now relating to elephant conservation though has to do with the issue of proper management. Their natural areas continue to be wiped out but are refugees the right answer? Can there be an overpopulation of elephants in this type of scenario? The plan of action has to be carefully developed so that we can all work hard to do what is necessary to successfully protect the elephants out there as well as future generations.
Ed Couzens. Whales and Elephants in International Conservation Law and Politics: A Comparative Study. Routledge, 2013.