Saturday, September 22, 2007

Endangered animals - Elephant

As many of you already know elephants are the largest land animals today. Elephants can live up to 70 years, sometimes even longer and they can weight astonishing 12,000 kg (26,400 lb). Elephants are not just famous for their gigantic size but also for their excellent memory and surprisingly high intelligence. Elephants can be divided in two main categories: African and Asian elephants.

African elephants, up to 4 m (13 ft 1 in) tall and weighing 7500 kg (8.27 short tons), are usually larger than the Asian species, and they have bigger ears. Both male and female African elephants have long tusks, while their Asian counterparts have shorter ones, with those of females significantly smaller. African elephants have a dipped back, smooth forehead and two "fingers" at the tip of their trunks, whereas the Asian have an arched back, two humps on the forehead and only one "finger" at the tip of their trunks. There is much more elephants in Africa then in Asia and therefore illegal hunting is much more presented in Africa, so I'll say a few words about elephant poaching in Africa.

Unfortunately so, number of elephants has significantly reduced in last 50 years or so, mostly because of human intrusion and poaching. In Africa used to live more than million elephants and now there are only between 470,000 to 690,000 elephants. Kenya was especially notorious for ruthless hunting of elephants in 70s and 80s but thankfully in 1989 the Kenyan government proposed and won a ban on the ivory trade. Ivory is the main reason why so many elephants lost their lives and some are still being hunted despite the restrictions.

The elephant is now protected species worldwide but illegal hunting and ivory trade isn't over, since there are many black markets and illegal hunting in many African countries. Fact that the scale of the worldwide trade in illegal wildlife is surpassed only by drugs and arms shows how endangered elephants really are and that governments must try to find appropriate legislation and surveillance that will save the remaining number. This isn't easy to achieve especially in African countries where proper law enforcement is especially difficult because it demands lots of money.

Sadly human is the only real predator of these peaceful animals as they have no natural predators thanks to their giant size. But what can be done to prevent this devastating poaching, can this human hunger for ivory be stopped? How to stop illegal hunting and ivory trade? IS the solution in law enforcement, strict control, or what? Is it possible? There are many questions but there is yet not suitable answer that could prevent further poaching. If this poaching trend continues elephants could be brought to the very edge of extinction.

This big animal is practically fallen to its knees because of illegal hunting and brought to the edge of the extinction, mainly because of the valuable ivory. If this killing of elephants continues elephants will soon be only seen in ZOO’s.


  1. this site taught me alot

  2. I do not know why poacher want to kill these majestic animals. What were they thinking when they were about to kill them; sell their horns for money?