The sad tale of the African Elephant

Hola,

Did you know?
Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh!
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal. This magnificent creature is endemic to Africa and is found in the forests, woodlands, shrub lands and deserts of Eastern, Central, Southern and West of Africa.
This unique and intelligent species is currently listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species due to poaching.
From the media we see reports of mass killings of the African elephant throughout its distribution range. In January this year, Kenya and the World got the shocking news that an entire family of 12 elephants had been killed by poachers in Tsavo East National Park, a protected park believed to be a safe haven for this and other species.

This illegal activity has greatly affected the population levels of the African elephant. Rangers have lost their lives in the line of duty as they try to protect this species.
The demand for ivory has been brought about the rapid change in economic development especially in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia currently known to hold the largest ivory markets.
It sad to mention that Kenya is a major source and a trafficking route for poached ivory together with Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa.
Due to poverty, local people are forced to join organized criminal syndicates involved in the trade even with all the regulations.
Regardless of it illegality, consumers are willing to pay high prices for ivory hence sustaining the trade. As a symbol of the luxurious status, pieces made out of ivory have and continue to be made and sold in many parts of the world today.
It is important to educate people and make them understand why there is need to conserve and protect the elephant along with other wildlife species. People need to know:
• the habitat requirements,
• current population of elephants
• threats affecting the elephant species
• the role of the elephant in the ecosystem
• how people and elephants can coexist
• the importance of this species to the tourism industry
• Where one can visit and see the elephant.

I believe there is hope and all citizens should play their role in the protection of the elephant.

Here is how you can get involved:

My good friend Jim Justus Nyamu has started the initiative “Ivory Belongs to Elephants Walk Campaign” to create awareness on the need for Kenyans to be concerned and actively participate to bring an end to elephant poaching.

Please visit Jim Justus Nyamu’s Facebook page to find out more on the campaign and how you can support him by ‘buying’ a kilometer.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu, a conservationist/ecologist is at the forefront advocating for the amendment of the Kenya Wildlife Act especially on penalties in-relation to wildlife crime.

Ivory trade should be BANNED PERMANENTLY and anyone caught in the trade should face life in prison.

Interesting facts about elephants
• Elephant trunks can get very heavy. It is not uncommon to see elephants resting them over a tusk!
• Elephants are sensitive animals where if a calf complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it.
• Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend that has been away for some time returns to the group.
• Elephants grieve at a loss of a stillborn baby, a family member, and in many cases other elephants.
• Elephants don’t drink with their trunks, but use them as “tools” to drink with. This is accomplished by filling the trunk with water and then using it as a hose to pour it into the elephant’s mouth – source.

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