By Tara Rippin • 29 March 2021 • 12:17
African elephants declared ‘critically endangered’ as Botswana expands hunting.
BOTSWANA’S Department of Wildlife and National Parks wants to step up its hunting season after disruptions due to the Covid crisis last year and is offering 287 elephant licenses next month, according to reports.
Last week, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported the African forest elephant has been listed as Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant as Endangered.
Before last week’s update, African elephants were treated as a single species, listed as Vulnerable; this is the first time the two species have been assessed separately for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, following the emergence of new genetic evidence.
The IUCN Red List now includes 134,425 species of which 37,480 are threatened with extinction.
“Africa’s elephants play key roles in ecosystems, economies and in our collective imagination all over the world. The new IUCN Red List assessments of both African elephant species underline the persistent pressures faced by these iconic animals,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General.
“We must urgently put an end to poaching and ensure that sufficient suitable habitat for both forest and savanna elephants is conserved. Several African countries have led the way in recent years, proving that we can reverse elephant declines, and we must work together to ensure their example can be followed.”
The number of African forest elephants has fallen by more than 86 per cent over a period of 31 years, while the population of African savanna elephants decreased by at least 60 per cent over the last 50 years, according to the assessments.
Both species suffered sharp declines since 2008 due to a significant increase in poaching, which peaked in 2011 but continues to threaten populations, said the IUCN.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
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