Reasons Behind the Elephants Extinction and Its Possible Impact

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Scope and Rational

The Elephantidae or the Elephants as we know them are getting extinct due to habitat loss, trade in ivory and the conflict between the humans and elephants. The largest mammal on land the elephants, there are only estimated 450,000 - 700,000 African elephants and between 35,000 - 40,000 wild Asian elephants in the world today[1]. It is estimated that there were once more than 350 species of elephants in the world. Today we only have two of them left – the Asian and the Africa species.

Global Perspective

Elephants are the largest land animals. The elephants have to species the Asian elephant and the African elephant. They live in two different continents and have unique features. In this two species there many other subspecies. There were about more than 350 species of elephants in the world but now we only have 2 of them left[2]. The reason of the elephants being endangered is due to illegally killing them for their ivory tusks and Habitat Loss. When the world economy collapsed due to the oil shortage these ivory become more costly than gold giving them the name “white gold” because so its ability to be easily craved, durability, pleasing to touch and beauty. These ivories are mainly carved in Japan, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries. These craver’s livelihoods depended on the supply of the ivory.[3]The other principal issue for elephants is that their characteristic natural surroundings are being wiped out. They aren't having the capacity to meander as they once did to discover the volume of sustenance that they need to have every day.

Accordingly, a considerable lot of them are starving to death which is truly a miserable destiny for them.[4] The elephants are not only killed because of the needs of the humans but also for their safety. When there are elephants near humans they often raid crops and the rogue elephants (aggressive male elephants during the breeding season) rampage through the villages, killing people and destroying their houses. Due to this the local people kill the elephants and consider them as pests[5]. There are NGOs, governments and other people to help these elephants. In many national parks and reserves in Africa, the elephant habitats are protected. But these parks are not large enough for the elephant to meet each for the elephant’s populations to recover. But the main problems with these lands are that humans use the same land for agriculture which increases the conflicts between humans and elephants. Some of these reserves become too successful increases the population of the elephants makes the availability of vegetation decreases causing them to destroy the habitat. They also go outside the parks and destroy the crops. The main income for this is through ecotourism. African government has taken a strong measure to protect the elephants this because of the rise in their economies due to the tourist trade. Kenya receives 50 million dollars a year through tourism. From this, the national parks get an enough income for them to continue and even the country will support them as their economies increase.

Through this, the population of the elephants will increase and they will not be killed. The trade of ivory is prohibited in the world in 1990 by the CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. They have been placed on Appendix I (These includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.) of CITES, which means trading of elephants parts are prohibited.[6] Governments of some countries have told the park rangers to shoot the poachers on sight. There are some governments which don't support the ivory ban like Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana. People of these countries farm elephants on ranches for trophy hunters. The governments of these countries argue that the trade should be regulated and not prohibited. They say as they manage their elephants they should be given permission to sell the ivory to pay their conservation measures like park guards and equipment. Other says that the best solution is totally banned of ivory because there is no way of taking the ivory from the elephants without legally killing them. Even the Asian craftspersons who craft the ivory are changing into other raw materials for carving. Some of them are turning to walrus tusks instead of elephant’s ivory causing the pressure of hunting to walruses. These are the problem faced by the elephant and the measures taken to stop the extinction of them.

National Perspective

In my country, India Elephants are very important as it has a huge part in the Indian mythology. Lord Ganesha a popular Indian god, who is the lord of wisdom. He has a head of the elephant. The elephant symbolizes intellect and wisdom. Even the Lord of Lords Indra has a white elephant named AIravata as his vehicle.The white elephant also symbolizes the Buddha.[7] The Indian elephants spend around 19 hours a day eating and can produce about a 100 kg of dung per day which roaming around spreading it all over the area covering up to 125 square miles. This is very helpful for the germination of seeds as the dungs are a good fertilizer. They mainly eat grass but something even large amount of tree barks, roots, leaves and small stems are also eaten. Agricultural crops like bananas, rice, and sugarcanes are also eaten by them. As they need to drink water at least once a day they also stay near to a source of fresh water[8]. The Indian elephants are the subspecies of the Asian elephants.

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The Asian elephants are killed for their ivory tusks but unlike their African cousin, only the male has tusks. Due to this the sex ratio differs as there are more females than males which also differs the breeding rate. “There are less than 800 tuskers left in India which means the semen distribution is low because there are only 800 inseminators and they are being killed all the time,” said Gandhi, a former environment minister[9]. There only around 20,000 – 25,000 elephants left in India According to the WWF, World Wild Life. These elephants live in the subtropical broadleaf forest, tropical broadleaf moist forest, dry forest, grassland of India like Manas, Cobett and Periyar National Park in India. They are not only found in India but also other Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Chain, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam. These elephants are endangered main because of habitat loss and hunting for their ivory tusks by human poachers.

As India is the country with the fasting growing population the elephant’s habitat getting smaller and these elephants can’t move around and mingle with each other as they migratory routes are destroyed by human settlements. Large projects like dams, roads, mines, and industrial complexes are making their habitat even smaller. Due to this, the elephants move out of their habitat into the human populated areas which cause the elephant to raid crops and villages destroying human property and even humans lives. Therefore, the villagers often kill these elephants. In India, the governments provide compensation for the damage caused by the elephant raid to the farmers. During 2016-17 423 humans died in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha. The government also paid Rupees 109 crores as compensation to the farmers between 2014-17 for the damage caused by elephants and Rupees 8.93 crores for the death of the humans during the same time[10]. Project Elephant (PE) is a wildlife conservation project published in India in February of 1992. It is initiated in India to help elephants financial and technical. This project is implemented in 16 states in India to maintain the elephant population in their habitats. These states are: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.[11]

Local Perspective

In the place where I live now, The Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu is a forest which many elephants that one can see them even on the roads. Due to deforestation and building of city the forests are being reduced and the home for the indian elephants are being destroyed resulting in these elephants coming in conflict with the humans and get killed. The Nilgiris is the home to the biggest population so many that the population of these elephants in any other Asia country wouldn’t be as much as in Nilgiri. Due to this the human conflict with the elephants are very high so a lot of people and elephants died. From 1979 to 2011 291 elephants deaths have been recorded by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, the Wildlife Protection Society of India and the Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association.[12] The death of the elephants are also caused by other factors like lack of rainfall which causes drought, lack of greens fodder, and bad climate. Srinivas R Reddy, Field Director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, said that “There has been a 60% deficit in rainfall this year, which has led to less water being present in some of water bodies within the reserve.

There is no cause for great alarm as there is green fodder in Nilakottai and Kargudi,” and he also add that “Usually, elephants from Bandipur make their way into MTR, while Mudumalai and Masinagudi elephants move to Bhavani Sagar in search of food. Weaker animals get culled off by the process of natural selection, and the healthy animals survive. This is also the time when elephants give birth and all the herds we are monitoring have young calves, so there is no cause for great concern, as every year at least 10-12 elephants die during the dry season,”[13] And also even the death of the humans are high as the elephants go out of their habitats in search of fodder. The below shows the death of the humans due to elephants from 1994 to 2014. And most of the humans are killed outside the forest showing that the elephants are coming outside their habitats.

Some of the measures taken by the government of Nilgiris are by making national parks like Mudumalai National Park and Bandipur National Park. Mudumalai National Park which is 3300 sq kms of forest which in habitats 1800 to 2300 elephants.[15] Bandipur National Park is mainly known for its tigers but habitats few elephants too. These are some of the measures taken by Nilgiris to save the Indian elephants.

Personal Perspective

During my research of the Elephantidae or Elephants as known to us I learned about the how the Elephants in the world is getting less in due to the activitys of us humans like poached where we kill this animals in this case the elephants for there ivory tusk for making jewlrys, sculptures and many other things. And also many other things with is body and the elephants are also killed due to humans and animals conflict and due to the surroundings.

Possible Scenarios:

Scenarios 1

What if the Elephants get extincted?

If the Elephants die they many cause problems in the foodchain as it one of the primary consumer who eat things from the eniveronment so the consumers which eat them will be in lack of fodder which will increas the death rate of these consumers like tigers and lions but this couldn’t cause a bigger problem in the food chain animals like tigers and lions can still feed on other primary consumers. Also in some parts of the world elephants are still use a means of transports so it will be hard for them to travel. Even the tourisum of some countries will reduse as elephants are one of the main atraction.

Scenarios 2

What will the effects on India if elephants are gone?

It would have a big affect on the Indian culture as it would distory the Indian culture beacause the elephants in India plays a big role as in the culture due to Lord Ganesha and Lord Indra. In India the elephants are worshiped so if there are no elephants in India they would not be able to worshiped them and also they will be no elephants are used in temples for festivels. Which would affect the Indian culture a lot.

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