Navigation Links
More than 50 percent decline in elephants in eastern Congo due to human conflict: UBC research
Date:11/10/2011

Humans play a far greater role in the fate of African elephants than habitat, and human conflict in particular has a devastating impact on these largest terrestrial animals, according to a new University of British Columbia study published online in PLoS ONE this week.

In some of the best-documented cases to date, the study shows the elephant population in the Okapi Faunal Reserve one of the last strongholds of forest elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) saw a 50 per cent decline in the last decade due to civil war and ivory poaching, from 6,439 to 3,288. In other parks in eastern DRC, the decimation was even greater.

"Having protected areas is not enough to save elephants in times of conflict," says lead author Rene Beyers, a postdoctoral fellow at UBC's Department of Zoology. "The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo had a large impact on elephant populations, including those in parks and reserves."

"We've found that two factors in conservation efforts were particularly effective: a continued presence by a highly committed government field staff and continued support by international organizations such as the Widlife Conservation Society, Gilman International Conservation and UNESCO made a difference for their survival."

Currently there are an estimated 6,000 elephants left in the wild in eastern Congo, down from approximately 22,000 before the civil war. These remaining animals are the only viable populations left in an otherwise enormous landscape. The war-torn DRC has the largest tract of rainforest in the Congo Basin at 1.6 million square-kilometres, it is the second biggest continuous rainforest in the world. Scientists believe most of this forest was probably elephant habitat in the past, but poaching and human encroachment have taken a toll on the animals.

Beyers says that even in times of war, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with the right funding and staffing can still have a positive impact on elephant conservation. In Rwanda, for example, national parks and reserves that received support from international NGOs were far less affected by the 1994 genocide than sites with no support.

Large-scale hunting of elephants for ivory has occurred in Africa in different periods in the 19th and 20th century. The last big poaching event happened in the late 1970s and in the 1980s, when the total population was reduced from 1.3 million to less than 600,000. Since the international ban in ivory trade in 1990, poaching for ivory stopped almost completely, but recent years have seen a resurgence.

The DRC is particularly hard-hit by poaching due to a combination of increasing demand for ivory and the lawlessness of the civil war. In the savannah of West and Central Africa, elephants declined by at least 50 per cent in the last 15 to 30 years. Large shipments of ivory originating from this region and elsewhere in Africa have been seized in Asia. Even in Kenya, which has good elephant conservation programs in place, has also seen a recent surge in poaching.


'/>"/>

Contact: Brian Lin
brian.lin@ubc.ca
604-822-2234
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Masks, hand washing, prevent spread of flu-like symptoms by up to 50 percent
2. Surface-level ozone pollution set to reduce tree growth 10 percent by 2100
3. Diet could reduce onset of eye disease by 20 percent
4. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome
5. Wings that waggle could cut aircraft emissions by 20 percent
6. Bullies have harassed 14 percent of workers over past 6 months
7. Wildfires set to increase 50 percent by 2050
8. Rwandas Forest of Hope to expand by 21 percent, begin corridor for endangered chimpanzees
9. Boys with urogenital birth defects are 33 percent more common in villages sprayed with DDT
10. 1 percent -- 1 in 110 -- CDC issues new autism prevalence report
11. Study shows loss of 15-42 percent of mammals in North America
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market ... the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is ... as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... -- IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central ... in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi. ... patients can routinely track key health measurements, such as ... when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians ... retail location at no cost. By leveraging this data, ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... March 22, 2016 ... Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, ... Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... to reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The ... is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... - FACIT has announced the creation of a ... Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), to ... of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of ... an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential ... patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital ... Sports Association to serve as their official health ... Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training ... association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... Sports Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) ... precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of ... 15 countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: