Ivory Coast, named for its elephants, as soon as had one of many largest elephant populations in West Africa. However now the nation’s elephant numbers are in speedy decline.
Sery Gonedelé Bi on the College Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and his colleagues surveyed 25 protected forest areas throughout the nation between 2011 and 2017. Additionally they analysed media studies and information of conflicts between humans and elephants.
Based mostly on their outcomes, the researchers estimate that there are solely 225 forest elephants left in Ivory Coast – a decline of 86 per cent since a survey conducted in 1994.
Estimates counsel that a couple of century in the past, the inhabitants of forest elephants numbered between 3000 and 5000, says Gonedelé.
Based mostly on dung counts, the group confirmed the presence of elephants in solely 4 of the 25 protected areas they surveyed. Habitat degradation is a possible issue that has pushed the decline in inhabitants.
Regardless of its protected standing, the group discovered that of the 360,000 hectares the 25 forests cowl, 71 per cent has been cleared.
A lot of the cleared land has been reworked into plantations, principally for cocoa, says Gonedelé. Greater than half of the 25 areas have been utterly transformed to farms and human settlements.
Earlier evaluation has proven that an estimated 265,000 hectares of forest are cleared within the nation yearly – the very best deforestation charge in sub-Saharan Africa.
The researchers discovered that the 4 protected areas with remaining elephant populations obtained extra safety from conservation workers than the opposite 21, which don’t obtain any tangible wildlife administration.
“We have to reinforce protections the place elephants nonetheless dwell,” says Gonedelé.
The researchers consider that with out rapid motion to safeguard still-existing populations, akin to ranger patrolling and legislation enforcement, forest elephants will go extinct in Ivory Coast
Journal reference: PLOS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232993
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