African Elephant UPSC | IUCN Status Critically Endangered

African Elephant UPSC | IUCN Status Critically Endangered – The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared African Forest and Savanna (or bush) elephants as ‘critically endangered’ and ‘endangered’ respectively. Earlier, African elephants were treated as a single species, listed as Vulnerable. This is the first time the two species have been assessed separately for the IUCN Red List.

African Elephant UPSC | IUCN Status Critically Endangered

African Elephant UPSC | IUCN Status Critically Endangered

Concept :

  • The report has opted to assess the African mammal as two separate species following genetic studies of populations.
  • The IUCN has found that the forest and savanna elephants split from each other 5–6m years ago, at about the same time humans separated from chimpanzees.
  • The forest elephant has been classified by the IUCN as critically endangered, while the savanna elephant is listed as endangered.

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About:

  • African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than Asian elephants.
  • They have two fingerlike features on the end of their trunk while Asian elephants have just one.
  • Elephants are matriarchal, meaning they live in female-led groups.
  • African elephants are keystone species, meaning they play a critical role in their ecosystem.
  • Also known as ecosystem engineers, elephants shape their habitat in many ways.
  • Elephants have a longer pregnancy than any other mammal—almost 22 months. This compounds the problem of conservation since there are simply not enough calves being born to make up for the losses from poaching.
  • There are two subspecies of African elephants, the Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant.
  • Savanna elephants are the larger of two.
African Savanna Elephant:

    • Scientific Name: Loxodonta africana
    • Decline: Dropped by 60% in the last 50 years.
    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • Habitat: Plains of sub-Saharan Africa

African Forest Elephant:

    • Scientific Name: Loxodonta cyclotis
    • Decline: Dropped by 86% in the last 31 years.
    • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

The majority of critically endangered forest elephants are in the Congo basin in Gabon, West Africa, while Botswana has the largest population of savanna elephants.

Habitat: 

  • Forests of Central and West Africa. They rarely overlap with the range of the savanna elephant.
      • The forest elephant has a more restricted natural distribution. Therefore, its decline is especially worrying.
      • While savanna elephant populations can bounce back given sufficient protection, the forest elephant is likely to recover much more slowly.
      • Law enforcement is also more problematic in many Central African countries which are home to the forest elephant.

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Threats:

  • Poaching for the illegal ivory trade.
    • Regions with high levels of poverty and corruption are more likely to have higher poaching rates. This suggests that helping communities develop sustainable livelihoods could reduce the lure of poaching.
  • Habitat Loss: Increasing human population, and conversion of land for agriculture and development.

Questions And Answers

Q1 – Which Of The Following Statement Is Correct About African Elephant ?

  1. African Elephants Are The Largest Animals On Earth .
  2. African Elephant Are Know As The Eco System Engineer .
  3. African Elephant Has Longer Pregnancy Period Than Any Other Mammals .
  4. There Is Only One Category of African Elephant
  5. Bush Elephant Is a African Elephant .

Choose The Correct Answer From Options Given below 

  1. 1,2,And 4
  2. 2,3,4 And 5
  3. 1,2,3 And 5
  4. All Of The Above

Correct Answer : ( c )

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