Why Elephants Are Under Threat

亚洲象濒危,而非洲象被认为是脆弱的。

非洲大象母亲和婴儿在野外
非洲象较少危害比其在亚洲的同行,但都面临着严重的风险。

Michelle Gadd[public domain]/USFWS/Flickr

There are two main groups of elephants left on Earth: African elephants and Asian elephants. Both face serious threats to their long-term survival, although the risks vary widely from place to place. Scientists classify all Asian elephants as a single species, and while the same is often done with African elephants, genetic evidencesuggestsAfrica really has two separate species: savanna elephants and forest elephants.

Asian elephantsare endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which listsAfrican elephantsas vulnerable. Several million African elephants roamed across the continent as recently as the early 20th century, but today only about 350,000 remain. Asian elephants were less abundant to begin with, reportedly numbering about 200,000 a century ago, giving them even less of a buffer against population declines. There are now fewer than 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, raising the specter of extinction unless something can be done to save them.

Threats to Elephants

The main threat to both Asian and African elephants is a familiar one for wildlife around the world: loss and fragmentation of their habitat. Many elephants also face additional dangers, though, including both direct and indirect conflict with people.

Habitat Loss and Fragmentation

人类被侵占非洲以及亚洲大象,但压力是亚洲象尤为严重。它们的栖息地越来越多皱缩和农业,伐木,道路和发展为住宅或商业用途支离破碎。大象是谁依赖于大的,连续的领地迁徙动物,而且这种趋势剥夺喜欢的食物和水的重要资源的他们。它也可以通过彼此隔离种群限制的遗传多样性。

Conflict With Humans

在占领和改变大象栖息地的顶部,人们也常用植物粮食作物那里。随着越来越多的养殖场出现在大象习惯于漫游森林和热带草原,庄稼往往成为容易攻击的目标为饥饿的大象。牧群可以在一个夜间摧毁一个今年的收成,导致理解的敌意农民,其中有很多是营养脆弱,没有什么收入,以抵消损失之一。这有时会导致大象的报复性杀戮,是危险的,人人参与互动。这些冲突导致数百每年在亚洲和非洲的死亡,无论是大象和人类的。

Climate Crisis

All elephants need lots of water, a thirst that drives much of their migratory behavior and daily activities. The need for water can already be a big challenge for elephants even under normal circumstances, but as the climate crisis fuels longer, drier droughts in many places, it can become all but impossible to find enough. This threat is also compounded as their habitats shrink and splinter, since thirsty elephants now have even fewer options for undeveloped places to find water.

Poaching

Many elephant populations plummeted last century due to unsustainable hunting, largely fueled by demand for their ivory tusks. And while the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the international trade of ivory in 1989, legal ivory markets have remained in some countries, enabled by a resurgent black market and well-armed gangs of poachers. Poaching can threaten elephants almost anywhere, but most illegal ivory currently comes from African elephants, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where thousands of elephants are killed by poachers every year.

我们能做些什么来帮助?

Aside from being intelligent, charismatic, and iconic, elephants are also important keystone species who shape and sustain the ecosystems around them. Many people around the world arededicated to preserving these ancient creatures; here are a few of their top priorities:

保护它们的栖息地

由于大象的主要威胁是栖息地的丧失,是有意义的重点我们的保护还剩下些什么自然环境的保护工作。少非洲大象栖息地的20%以上是在正规的保护,根据世界自然基金会,而亚洲平均为大象的70%被发现保护区之外。对于大,迁徙的动物,如大象,关键是不只是保护栖息地的孤立的,而且这些链接进入口袋large-scale wildlife corridors。在印度和尼泊尔,例如,特莱弧景观项目的目的是重新连接的,其中亚洲象生活12个保护区链。

减少对象牙的需求

Although poaching of African elephants has略有下降因为一个高峰2011, it remains a significant danger, especially combined with the many other threats facing elephant populations. Wild elephants need legal protection as well as parks and rangers with resources to enforce those laws, but it will be difficult to stop poaching without also addressing the demand for ivory that drives it. That is another focus for conservationists, who scored an important victory in 2017 when China ended its legal ivory trade. As a consumer, anyone can support the effort to save elephants simply by never buying anything containing ivory.

帮助人们分享他们居

公园护林员在前线打击武装偷猎者,并总是需要更多的资源来保护整个空间巨大浩瀚的大象。但是大象的命运也更广泛地链接到他们周围的人的社区,因为人们有足够的法律机会,以支持他们的家庭可能是不太可能诉诸于偷猎收入。并在农民与他们剩余的栖息地的边缘大象发生冲突,保护主义者正在尝试各种创新技术,以帮助动物共存。许多小农户买不起围栏强大到足以保持了大象,例如,但一些现在围绕他们的农作物蜂箱围栏,其中利用大象蜜蜂的天然恐惧。作为奖励,蜜蜂还提供新鲜的当地蜂蜜。