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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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Large Sections of Indian Population becoming Vulnerable to Natural Disasters

The need of the hour is to build nation-wide ‘pathways to permanence' focused on placing the disaster-affected families on a path to durable

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Indian, Population, Vulnerable
Safe, decent shelter provides the platform upon which much of post-disaster assistance is built: health, water, sanitation, livelihoods, safety, education and so on. Pixabay

As climate cycles become unpredictable and weather patterns turn volatile, large sections of the Indian population are becoming vulnerable to natural disasters like flash floods and earthquakes. The displacement of communities on account of natural calamities like rain-triggered floods has assumed catastrophic proportions in ecologically sensitive zones (ECZs) across the country.

Rehabilitating displaced communities and restoring normalcy in their life is of paramount importance in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Safe, decent shelter provides the platform upon which much of post-disaster assistance is built: health, water, sanitation, livelihoods, safety, education and so on. The need of the hour is to build nation-wide ‘pathways to permanence’ focused on placing the disaster-affected families on a path to durable, permanent and sustainable disaster resilient shelter solutions.

While responding to natural disasters, a phase-wise disaster management approach is required as there are multiple pathways toward permanent, durable shelter. In the initial phase of ensuring immediate relief, government agencies like the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) provide the first level of on-ground rescue and relief operations. The nodal agency responsible for disaster management operations in the country helps in the provision of essential supplies and basic necessities like food, water, medicines and clothes. NDMA also plays an instrumental role in setting up relief camps and emergency community dwellings for ensuring safety and security of families and prevention of any outbreak of diseases. NGOs also support the rescue and relief operations through the provision of humanitarian aid kits, clothing, clean water, hygiene material and other essentials.

In phase two of the relief effort, relief agencies like NGOs and grassroots-level local self-governance bodies like Gram Panchayats are involved in setting up transitional shelters to support the displaced families. In the final phase of development work, leading disaster response organizations undertake home repairs, core house construction, disaster mitigation training at the community level to help families rebuild their lives.

Indian, Population, Vulnerable
Rehabilitating displaced communities and restoring normalcy in their life is of paramount importance in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Pixabay

There is a need to constitute a Rapid Response Disaster Financial Pledge – a financial commitment required to support a disaster response initiative. The seed capital for the pledge can be provided by the government. Socially responsible corporates can come forward and pledge a part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) spend towards the fund.

The startup fraternity in the country also needs to be increasingly engaged in helping displaced communities through technological support. The emphasis should be on gathering real time data, building prefabricated, sustainable and cost effective shelters and sanitation units. The government should come up with schemes to incentivize such startups to formulate innovative housing solutions for disaster-affected populations.

In any disaster situation, families and communities should not be viewed as victims of a disaster, but as partners in their redevelopment process. Interventions in either a development or disaster response setting are more successful when the affected population participates in the decision-making process. During the flash floods in 2018 that affected millions of families in Kerala, the participation of the government, local authorities and the community played a vital role in rebuilding the lives of people. Key agencies like urban local bodies, corporates and NGOs complimented in the state disaster providing relief to millions of families affected by the floods.

Also Read- Government Withdraws Advisory Restricting Tourists in Kashmir

The term Pathways to Permanence refers to the process of reducing vulnerability and supporting disaster-affected families and communities using holistic program interventions that enable incremental progress toward the achievement of permanent, durable shelter and settlements. Government agencies, non-govermental organisations (NGOs), the corporate sector and the community have a crucial role to play in disaster response. (IANS)