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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

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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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WHO Committee Warns About Ebola Outbreak in Congo

Ebola in Eastern DRC Remains Global Health Threat

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Medical workers lead a young girl with suspected Ebola into the unconfirmed Ebola patients ward run by The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA). VOA

A World Health Organization Emergency Committee warns the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo remains a global health threat despite significant progress in containing the spread of this deadly virus.   WHO reports a total of 3,431 cases of Ebola, including 2,253 deaths in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The Emergency Committee declared the outbreak in DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, or PHEIC, last July.  In reviewing the current situation, members of the Committee decided it was premature to declare the global threat over.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says he accepts the Committee’s advice.

“As long as there is a single case of Ebola in an area as insecure and unstable as eastern DRC, the potential remains for a much larger epidemic,” he said.

WHO VOA
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the Emergency Committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

WHO has revised its risk assessment from very high to high at national and regional levels, and low at the global level.  Last week, it reports only three new cases of the disease in North Kivu’s Beni Health Zone.  Tedros calls these signs extremely positive.

“But even as we near the end of this outbreak, we must act now to prevent the next one…Only half of health facilities have access to water.  Strengthening a health system may not be as sexy as responding to an outbreak, but it is equally important,” he said.

Tedros is traveling to DRC’s capital Kinshasa on Thursday.  The WHO chief says he will meet President Felix Tshisekedi and other senior ministers to explore ways to strengthen DRC’s health system.

Chair of the Emergency Committee, Robert Steffen explains why the group decided to maintain the PHEIC despite cautious optimism that the Ebola epidemic was winding down.

Also Read- US Health Officials Prepare to Battle Flu Season as Coronavirus Fear Rises

“We do see a risk of some resurgence and also a risk of complacency if we would now suddenly abandon this PHEIC despite of the fact that we still occasionally still see new cases,” he said.

Another problem, Steffen says, is lack of money.  He says WHO needs $83 million to carry out its Ebola operation until June.  So far, less than half of the required amount has been received. (VOA)