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Environmental Biology and Conservation - Essay Example

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African Elephants are some of the most endangered animals in the world today. In the past three decades, the population of the animals has been declining drastically and in some regions, the animals have become extinct. These animals are major targets for poachers who kill them for their ivory, skins and meat. …
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Environmental Biology and Conservation
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"Environmental Biology and Conservation"

Download file to see previous pages The elephants are particularly killed for their valuable ivory that is used in the manufacture of traditional medicine especially in China and Taiwan and making of game trophies and ornaments.
In this respect, the conservation of the animals especially in the African continent has become one of top priorities in order to safeguard their crucial role they play in the ecosystem. Destroying local elephant habitats to create room for human settlement is an important local issue in Africa that has resulted to deaths of the African elephant. This paper examines the impact of killing the African elephant one of the threatened species, with special focus on its role in the ecosystem and the conservation measures put in place to ensure its survival.
Population trends of African elephant and its major habitats
The population of the African elephant has dropped sharply from about 1.3 million animals in the 1970s to about 450,000 animals today (Chris, 1999). The population of these animals has reduced drastically in their main habitats across the African continent presenting serious ecological challenges in the affected region. In view of the declining numbers, some African countries have established conservancies such as game reserves, game parks and national parks in addition to lobbying for international ban on ivory. According to Chris (1999), the African elephant, Loxodanta africana inhabited virtually all parts of the continent for many centuries. Currently, the animals are mostly concentrated on the southern Saharan desert, and their numbers are scattered and disjointed in the region. The habitats of elephants in the sub-Saharan Africa are divided into four main zones that include central, southern, western and eastern Africa (Anderson and Coe 1974). These regions have varying human population that plays a critical role in determining the destruction of the habits and the subsequent animal population. Human population in the central Africa is quite sparse and this region has one of the largest forest cover on the continent. The forests form an important habitat of the forest elephant, the Loxodonta African cyclotis subspecies (White and Child 1988). Due to the dense forests, low human population and limited destruction of the habitats, central Africa is home to about 45% of the total African elephant population (Chris, 1999). Western Africa is one of the regions in the continent that has the highest human population. Consequently, the elephant habits have largely been interfered with, causing drastic reduction in the animal population. According to Chris (1999), elephant population in the region is restricted in the fragmented habitats raging from the savannah and the remaining forested areas. According to Chris (1999), western Africa comprises of just about 2% on the entire population of the African elephant. The countries with the highest numbers of elephants in western Africa include Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast (Chris, 1999). The eastern Africa is another important habitat for the elephant population. Geographically, the region comprises of highlands endowed with rich volcanic soils. Consequently, the dense human population engaged in crop farming in the fertile highlands has destroyed habitats for the African elephant. From early 1970, to 1980, the region experienced high level of elephant poaching and the high population decimated the elephants further (Bengis, 1996). Chris (1999) estimated that the region accounts to about 20% of the total elephant population in the continent. Tanzania is one of the few countries with high elephant population but Kenya is recording an increasing in numbers after enforcing stringent conservation measures (Bengis, 1996). In southern Africa region, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Wonderful paper! Used it to complete an assignment for a biology course. It was easy as ABC, for the first time in my life.
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