The Leopard

Endangered Elephants

Sumatran+elephant%2C+%28Elephas+maximus+sumatrensis%29+a+member+of+Flying+Squad+in+Tesso+Nilo+National+Park%2C+Riau%2C+Indonesia
Sumatran elephant, (Elephas maximus sumatrensis) a member of Flying Squad in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, Indonesia

Sumatran elephant, (Elephas maximus sumatrensis) a member of Flying Squad in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, Indonesia

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/elephant

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/elephant

Sumatran elephant, (Elephas maximus sumatrensis) a member of Flying Squad in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, Indonesia

Evan Madsen, Hard News Writer

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Elephants are the biggest land mammal on the planet and the species has huge cultural value in communities around the world. At the turn of the 20th century, there were a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are an estimated 450,000700,000 African elephants and between 35,000 and 40,000 wild Asian elephants.

 

Elephants are among the most intelligent of animals with whom we share the world, with complex consciousnesses that are capable of strong emotions. Across Africa, they have inspired respect from the people that share the landscape with them, giving these animals a strong cultural significance. As icons of the continent, African elephants are a big tourism endeavour by attracting the funds that help protect wilderness areas. They are also keystone species. Elephants play an important ecological role, including the ability to create trails that work as fire breaks during brush fires, fertilizing the soil with manure, digging holes that create access to water for other animals, and much more. Without elephants, ecosystems around the continent would be thrown out of balance.

 

Due to recent events at the Senate’s joint and Commerce hearing, the social networking service, Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO, have been accused of playing a huge role in the selling of ivory across the globe. Georgia representative, Buddy Carter asked Zuckerberg, “Did you know that there are some conservation groups that assert that there’s so much ivory being sold on Facebook that it is literally contributing to the extinction of the elephant species?” Zuckerberg responded by saying that he wasn’t aware of the problem.

 

During the hearing, senators and other representatives discussed the investigations involved with private and group Facebook groups that are supposedly selling the body parts of endangered species. Reports mention that animal body parts include bengal tiger hides, tiger teeth, and elephant and rhino horns.

 

Most elephant deaths today are due to illegal poaching. This deadly crime used to be a way for poor farmers to support their families through rough times. Today, most poaching is done by well-organized and well-funded criminal traffickers. The money that is earned from poaching and selling ivory, funds wars and criminal organizations.

 

Elephant population has dropped 62% over the last decade, and could be extinct by the end of the next decade. As of 2017, there are more African elephants being killed for ivory than there are being born.The society as a whole is responsible for educating the world about how extremely significant elephants are to this planet. By doing so, it could help prevent the mass extinction of a species that is vital to ecosystems around the world and culturally significant to many people who have embraced them into everyday life and traditions that will last for decades.

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