Saving lives and tourism income
Conservationists in Africa have welcomed with great hope the recent decision of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to equip the African elephant for endangered species.
- Elephant populations offer unique photographic safaris that attract millions of tourists to Africa and are a tremendous source of income for tourism.
- The continuing demand for elephant ivory has dramatically reduced the elephant population on the African continent.
- The forest elephant population has declined by 86 percent in the past 31 years, while that of the savannah elephant has declined by 60 percent in the past 50 years.
This decision will raise awareness of the need to protect African elephants, both savannah and forest elephants, which once belonged to a category of endangered species.
The last report released last month by the IUCN, the global authority on the status of the natural world, announced the update of its Red List of Threatened Species. The elephant species are said to face existential threats as their populations decline due to poaching and habitat loss.
The most recent IUCN Red List includes 134,425 species of which 37,480 are critically endangered. Over 8,000 species are classified as critically endangered and over 14,000 are classified as critically endangered. But it is the new status of the African elephants that has drawn the most attention.