Environmentalists raise concern as African elephants see massive decline

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Mar 26, 2021, 07:36 PM IST

African elephants living in forests and savannas are increasingly threatened with extinction, the Red List of species in trouble showed on Thursday (March 25), as conservationists called for an urgent end to poaching.

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There has been a 60 per cent reduction in the population of African savanna elephants in the last 50 years

Environmentalists on Thursday rang alarm bells on the declining elephant populations across Africa, warning that one species was on the brink of extinction. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in its updated "Red List" of threatened species said that forest elephants in Africa are the worst-affected as their numbers have fallen more than 86 per cent in three decades.

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It said that these elephants are now designated as "critically endangered", meaning they face the most risk of getting extinct. 

Meanwhile, there has been a 60 per cent reduction in the population of African savanna elephants in the last 50 years, IUCN said, adding the species to the "endangered" list. 

The development is big as earlier elephants from the continent, taken as a single species was regarded as vulnerable, but not endangered. 

"Today's new IUCN Red List assessments of both African elephant species underline the persistent pressures faced by these iconic animals," IUCN chief Bruno Oberle in a statement said.

News agency AFP reported that 50 years ago, there were nearly 1.5 million elephants in Africa, but poaching and shrinking habitats have resulted in only about 415,000 left. 

"It is a wake-up call to the entire globe that we are going down a steep terrain, when it comes to... the viability of these elephants," Benson Okita-Ouma of Save the Elephants and the co-chair of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group said.