It's not just poaching that kills off our Elephants, although that is the result of the majority of deaths due to the rise in prices of ivory. There is also the loss of their natural habitat, and also the conflict between humans when they damage crops. It would be a shame if, in the future the only Elephants we see would be in zoos, because they are so much more at home in the wild, in their natural habitat.
Conservation And What Is Being Done To Protect Elephants:There is actually quite a lot being done now to help protect the Elephant, for instance there have been many anti-poaching patrols set up. These are generally local people which are employed to scout areas to help protect the wildlife, and in turn are able to make money and look after their families. Moreover, by employing local parents to protect the Elephants, the method is also passed on to the next generation, instead of killing Elephants, the idea is that it is better to protect than to destroy.
Translocation:This is another method widely used, whereby relocating individual Elephants or a small group of Elephants helps them survive better by moving them to a better habitat. This translocation is generally used with small groups of Elephants, or with a single mature male Elephant to increase the gene pool. Males are used for translocation because they often leave their family groups when they mature anyway and this helps a lot with the reproduction.
Using Sustainable Alternatives To Ivory: This is probably one of the best ways to help with the protection of Elephants, because ivory isn't as much in demand as it used to be. This is due to the widespread use of plastic and other materials that are as good as ivory. For instance, Japanese and European piano manufacturers do not use ivory components in any of their instruments now, only plastic. Also, a great substitute for ivory is the tagua nut, which is extremely similar to ivory and can be used to produce carvings, sculptures and yes, even piano keys. In addition, a single palm tree can easily produce 50lb of nuts per year.
Human And Elephant Conflict Prevention:There has been a lot of conflict in the past between Elephants and humans, because Elephants do damage a large area of crops due to their number and size. However, now there have been a number of things put into place depending on the area, like electrified fencing, and this has been especially helpful in Malaysia. Companies that have used this method to protect their rubber plantations have reported an 80% drop in crop raiding.
In other areas where electric fencing isn't possible, oil made from chilly pepper concentrate is applied to lengths of rope or string. Grease is also used to make it waterproof, and the Elephants don't like this mixture as it acts as an irritant to them, so they tend to stay away. Another helpful method is crop location planning, and the idea is to plant crops away from where Elephants frequent where possible to reduce temptation and this also works well when implemented.
Other methods used are tape recordings, these can vary from recordings of Tiger calls to deter the Elephants or low and high frequencies to deter the Elephants from coming close to property. In other areas powerful spotlights are used, and have been very effective in keeping Elephants from entering areas where they aren't wanted. There have even been cases where they have trained female Elephants to keep herds away from human areas, but this is also challenging due to bull Elephants wanting to mate.
Conclusion:It is hard to imagine that millions of Elephants once roamed the land in Africa, but thanks to improved communication with locals, a hard line on poaching, and alternative resources, there is a good chance that Elephants can make a comeback. We can help to by not purchasing ivory products, or donating to a company that protects Elephants, like the World Wildlife Fund ( WWF ).
10 Interesting Facts About Elephants:
- 1. There are two species of Elephant, the African and the Asian.
- 2. You can tell the two species apart by their ears.
- 3. An Elephants trunk can hold up to 8 liters of water.
- 4. There is up to 150,000 muscle units in an Elephants trunk.
- 5. Elephant tusks are actually large incisor teeth, used for foraging for food and defending themselves.
- 6. An Elephants skin is 2.5 cm thick and it helps keep them cool by holding 10 times more water than flat skin.
- 7. Elephants communicate with one another through touch, scent, body language and sound.
- 8. Baby Elephants can stand within 20 minutes of being born, and can walk within one hour.
- 9. An Elephants area of the brain that controls memory is much more dense and larger than humans, which is probably where the saying comes from "Elephants never forget".
- 10. Elephants can spend up to 18hrs per day eating, they also poo about one tonne per week, which helps fertilize the land and spread seeds that have passed through their intestinal tract.