The African Elephant is one of the most endangered animals in Africa. Researchers at the University of Washington recently said the elephant death rate from poaching was currently 8 per cent, higher than the 7.4 per cent rate which led to the international ivory trade ban in 1989.
Samuel Wasser, one of the researchers, warned that African elephants – largest living land animal- are being pushed into extinction and could be extinct by 2020. The African Elephant, which can easily consume up to 225 kilograms of fruit, grass, and leaves in a day, is divided into two subspecies: The African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana), and the African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis).
The differences between the two are merely on the physical aspect – The African Forest Elephant tends to have rounder ears and is significantly smaller than its counterpart. Besides poaching, African Elephants faces another major challenge: The calves have chances of dying in a drought, or falling prey to lions and crocodiles.
The population in the 1980s was around 1 million, with around 70,000 elephants being killed a year. The total African elephant population is now less than 470,000.