Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Italian translation 5. March 6, 2013
African forest elephants in decline
Facing extinction in the next decade
The population decline of the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is not abating. A new Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) study shows these animals are now on the verge of extinction, which could happen within the next decade. In the last ten years, the population of African forest elephants has collapsed by 72 per cent in the centre of the Continent. The figure confirms the need to act immediately to safeguard this species, whose survival is dramatically in peril.
The American study was published in the review Plose One, and involved the participation of more than sixty authors, led by Fiona Maisels, scientist at WCS and of the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling. "Although we were expecting to see these results, we were horrified that the decline over the period of a mere decade was over 60 per cent", explained Maisels. The researchers studied the numbers of elephants in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Republic of Congo, Gabon and the Central African Republic. The results reveal that human activity and buildings have reduced the number of elephants, and that numbers have even declined in areas previously noted as safe-havens for the most abundant groups of this species. The principle cause of the rapid decline in African forest elephants is poaching, in order to seize their precious ivory.
From 'La Zampa', March 6, 2013. Translated by PW 6-3-13