#Biodiversity: African Elephants Going Extinct

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Throughout history, elephants have played significant roles in human economies, religion, and culture. The massive size, strength, and build of this largest living land animal has fascinated people of many cultures for hundreds of years. In some parts of the world, elephants have served as beasts of burden, while some have been trained and used as a form of entertainment in circus and festivals.

They are enormous animals and one that many cultures hold in high esteem, yet their number continues to plunge at a disturbing rate.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 10 million African elephants, now there are about 500000. The rate of poaching is higher than the birth rate.

Nevertheless, governments in Africa are taking drastic measures in putting down poachers. Kenya and Tanzania have arrested more illegal traders than ever before. Ivory is also confiscated at an alarming rate. Last year, 40,000 kilos of ivory were seized, mostly in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Female elephants are at a higher risk because they have particularly large tusks.

The demand for elephant ivory in China is especially high. It has become even more valuable than gold, selling at thousands of dollars per kilo on Asian markets. In China, ivory is a multi-billion dollar trade. The valuable material is used in medicine and for decorations.

“Across Africa, nations are starting to see that wildlife is worth more alive than dead, since it can be a source of revenue through tourism, to fund the education, healthcare and infrastructure that will expand human well-being and drive economic development.

Since it is due to humans that elephants are currently endangered, then it is only appropriate that we are the ones to help them get those numbers back up.

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