African Elephants and Human-Elephant Interactions: Implications for Conservations by P.C. Lee and M.D. Graham

African Elephants and Human-Elephant Interactions: Implications for Conservations by P.C. Lee and M.D. Graham

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The Elephant is something to marvel at there is no animal quite like them. Between its shear size (the largest terrestrial mammal alive today), the familiar emotions they share with humans such as mourning for their dead, or their unique features like their large trunks, tusks, and ears, there is nothing that compares. These are some reasons why this large beautiful animal should not be taken for granted in today’s society. Unfortunately they have been between the illegal poaching for ivory, human elephant conflict regarding land usage, and environmental factors; they have become endangered.
In the beginning of the 1800’s it is estimated that there were 26 million elephants roaming our planet. At that time many animals were at their peak, were thriving; to understand just how drastically humans have impacted the elephant population it takes looking at the sharp decline. Starting in the early 1900’s to hunt down an elephant on an African safari was seen with high esteem. As time went on ivory from the elephant’s tusks began to be sold largely for piano keys, pool balls, brush handles, and combs. As popularity of these commodities rose mass production increased and soon in 1913 the U.S. alone was importing 200 tons of ivory each year. To put into perspective just how sharply the population dropped from the early 1900’s the population started out around 10 million and in 1979 it was estimated to be at 1.3 million.
The ivory trade is devastating towards elephants and is only growing in time despite authoritative efforts. According to Elephant Daily an elephant is killed every fifteen minutes, and in the last 4 years poachers have killed up to a third of the population. By 1989 the population had fallen again to 600,000 and that is wh...

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...d species, such as elephants, which were seen as having a political, economic or land-use advantage over local people. (9)
Crop damage in particular has caused a huge strain on humans and elephants, farmers need to protect their lively hoods and elephants need a place to roam free without being a burden.
Efforts are being taken by many organizations to save the elephants but there are a lot of factors in place and the future is looking grim for these unique mammals. With raising awareness of ivory trade especially to Chinese citizens along with some other Asian countries a decline could be in the future. The human-elephant conflict is a little harder to remedy but that doesn’t mean is impossible. Action needs to be made now though and at a fast pace otherwise we could be looking at a world twenty years down the road where elephants will only be seen in captivity.

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