Tuesday, 12 March 2013

African forest elephants decline by 62% in 10 years


Forest elephant numbers have decreased by 62% across Central Africa over the last 10 years, according to a study.

The analysis confirmed fears that African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) are heading for extinction, possibly within the next decade.

Conservationists said "effective, rapid, multi-level action is imperative" in order to save the elephants.

They are concerned the forest elephants are being killed for their ivory.

Results of the study, undertaken by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and several other conservation organisations, are published in the scientific journal PLoS One.

Over 60 co-authors contributed to the study, which was led by Dr Fiona Maisels, a WCS conservation scientist from the School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, and Dr Samantha Strindberg, also a WCS conservation scientist.

"Although we were expecting to see these results, we were horrified that the decline over the period of a mere decade was over 60%," Dr Maisels told BBC Nature.

Findings also indicated that large areas where the elephants ranged just 10 years ago now have very few elephants remaining.

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