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Thirty percent African elephants wiped out in 7 years between 2007 and 2014

The scientific report of the GEC findings, published in the open access journal PeerJ revealed that the current rate of species decline is eight percent per year, primarily due to poaching

A family of African elephants. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

New York, September 1, 2016: Elephant populations in Africans declined by as much as 30 percent between 2007 and 2014, the Result of a pan-African survey of savanna elephants have shown.

The findings of the three-year Great Elephant Census managed by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) confirms substantial declines in elephant numbers over just the last decade.

“The Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants’ downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat,” said Michael Chase, EWB Director and the Principle Investigator on the project.

The ambitious project to count all of Africa’s savannah elephants from the air has completed 18 country surveys with two countries still to be completed, organisers said.

South Sudan and the Central African Republic are anticipated to be flown by the end of 2016 depending on safety conditions and data reliability.

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For savannah elephant populations in 15 GEC countries for which repeat counts were available, populations declined by 30 percent, or 144,000 animals, between 2007 and 2014, the investigators said.

The Pan-African survey showed the estimated savannah elephant population to be 352,271 within the 18 countries surveyed to-date, representing at least 93 percent of savannah elephants in these countries.

The researchers reported that 84 percent of the population surveyed was sighted in legally protected areas compared to 16 percent in unprotected areas.

However, large numbers of carcasses were observed in many protected areas indicating that elephants are struggling both within and outside of parks.

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The scientific report of the GEC findings, published in the open access journal PeerJ revealed that the current rate of species decline is eight percent per year, primarily due to poaching.

The team used the most accurate, up-to-date counting and statistical methods to analyse data, accurately determining the number and distribution of the great majority of African savanna elephants and this now provides a baseline on a continental scale for future surveys and trend analyses, that wildlife ecologists will be able to use to coordinate conservation efforts.

Overall, 90 scientists, six non-governmental organization partners, and two advisory partners collaborated in the work. (IANS)



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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    The African elephants are a rare species. Their hunting and poaching should be made illegal with strict punishments across the whole of Africa.

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Conservationists Sound Alarm As India Loses 106 Leopards in 2 Months

The Indian leopard is listed as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List

According to Dehradun-based WII, there are at least 9,000 leopards across 17 states where tigers are also found. Pixabay

By Kushagra Dixit

A staggering 106 leopards have died in the first two months of this year in forest areas across the country — a number that conservationists and officials said was alarmingly high for the “vulnerable” feline species in India.

According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), which compiled the data, the maximum number of deaths was due to poaching as evident from seizures of leopard hides and other body parts. Only 12 of the big cats died of natural causes.

Uttarakhand tops the list with 24 leopard deaths, followed by Maharashtra (18) and Rajasthan (11). The incidents of mortality were reported from 18 states.

According to official records, a total of 431 leopards died in 2017. These included 159 incidents of poaching. Some 450 big cats died in 2016 and 127 of them were found poached. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Infrared Cameras Capture Rare Wild Amur Leopards and Siberian Tigers in China

Leopards have been targeted by poachers for their expensive hides and other body parts. However, habitat loss, especially due to farming, has posed a new threat to them.

According to experts involved in tracking illegal wildlife trade, an animal skin changes lots of hands before it reaches a possible market in China where it can fetch around Rs 50 lakh — sometimes even higher than that.

A poacher in India sells it to a procurer for about Rs 3-4 lakh. It reaches a trader in Nepal or other neighboring countries where it is sold for Rs 8-10 lakh. The traders in Nepal and other countries then smuggle an animal hide to China — notoriously considered the hub of wildlife black-marketing. By the time it reaches the final trader in China, an animal hide can get Rs 40-50 lakh, experts told IANS.

The WPSI said there are 10 possible general causes for leopard deaths. Of 106 leopard deaths so far this year, 36 were without clarity on what caused the deaths. Pixabay

ALSO READ: 2016 in Retrospect: Poaching at all-time High, but the number of Tigers still Rose

There were 23 cases of seizure of hides, skulls, and claws. But in such cases, it is usually not known if the animal died a natural death or it was killed for some of its parts and then the body left behind.

However, there were 18 cases of clear poaching. The clarity on such deaths comes because there are clear signs of gunshot wounds or trap marks or poison found on an animal’s body.

The WPSI said eight leopards died in road or train accidents in January and February this year; five were killed by villagers; seven of fighting with other leopards; five were killed by tigers or other animals.

Two of them died in rescue operations or treatments, and one due to electrocution — and one was shot dead by a police official in Uttar Pradesh.

Besides this, four leopards were rescued alive from smugglers in Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, the WPSI said. Pixabay


“The number is unusually high. We don’t see such a large scale of killing or mortality in such a small span of time. It’s a bad start in terms of wildlife conservation,” Tito Joseph, a programme manager at the WPSI, told IANS.

ALSO READ: Conservationists design Fake Leopard Skins in South Africa to Save the Wild Animal

Y.V. Jhala, a senior scientist at the Worldlife Institute of India (WII), said the number could actually be higher because the available figure is what could be detected or reported.

However, the actual leopard population is unknown as no assessment is done in other states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Jammu and Kashmir where incidents of leopard sighting are random.

The Indian leopard is listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. It is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. (IANS)