Africa (Xinhua) -- Africa’s overall
elephant population has seen the worst declines in 25 years,
mainly due to poaching over the past 10 years, according to a
report released here.
The African Elephant Status
Report was launched by the International Union for Conservation
of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) at the ongoing 17th
meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Spices of Wild Fauna and Flora
Based on population estimates from a wide range of sources,
including aerial surveys and elephant dung counts, the estimates
for 2015 were 93,000 lower than in 2006.
However, including 18,000 from previously uncounted
populations, the real decline from estimates is considered to be
closer to 111,000.
The continental total is now thought to be about 415,000
elephants, although there may be an additional 117,000 to
135,000 elephants in areas not systematically surveyed.
The surge in poaching for ivory that began approximately a
decade ago, the worst that Africa has experienced since the
1970s and 1980s, has been the main driver of the decline, while
habitat loss poses an increasingly serious, long-term threat to
the species, according to the report.
"These new numbers reveal the truly alarming plight of the
majestic elephant, one of the world’s most intelligent animals
and the largest terrestrial mammal alive today," said IUCN
Director General Inger Andersen.
"It is shocking but not surprising that poaching has taken
such a dramatic toll on this iconic species."
This report provides further scientific evidence of the need
to scale up efforts to combat poaching, he said.
"Nevertheless, these efforts must not detract from addressing
other major and increasingly devastating threats such as habitat
loss," Andersen said.
With over 70 percent of the estimated African elephants,
Southern Africa has by far the largest number of the species,
approximately 293,000 elephants in systematically surveyed
Eastern Africa holds about 86,000 (20 percent) estimated
elephants, while Central Africa has about 24,000 estimated
elephants (six percent). West Africa continues to hold the
smallest regional population with approximately 11,000 (under
Eastern Africa, the region most affected by poaching, has
experienced an almost 50 percent elephant population reduction,
largely attributed to an over 60 percent decline in Tanzania’s
Although some sites have recorded declines, elephant numbers
have been stable or increasing since 2006 in Uganda, Kenya, and
Rwanda, and range expansion has been reported in Kenya.
Central Africa’s forest elephant population has been
substantially affected by poaching for ivory since the 1990s.
The Democratic Republic of Congo used to hold one of the most
significant forest elephant populations in Africa, which has now
been reduced to tiny remnants of its former size.
The savanna populations of Chad have taken heavy losses and
those in the Central African Republic have almost completely
The report is an authoritative source of knowledge about the
numbers and distribution of African elephant populations across
their 37 range states in sub-Saharan Africa.
It presents more than 275 new or updated estimates for
individual elephant populations across Africa, with over 180 of
these arising from systematic surveys.
The report summarizes for the first time in almost a decade
elephant numbers at the continental, regional and national
levels, and examines changes in population estimates at the site
African Union to implement
wildlife crime fighting strategy: official
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- The African Union (AU) Commission
is currently identifying African experts who will drive the
implementation of the African Strategy on Illegal Exploitation
and Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in the continent, an
AU official said on Tuesday.
The African Strategy is a framework designed by the African
countries to tackle the illegal trade in wild fauna and flora,
Leah Naess Wanambwa, a senior policy officer in the Department
of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AU Commission, told
She was attending the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Spices of
Wild Fauna and Flora, taking place in Johannesburg.
The African strategy was approved by the African Heads of
States during the AU Summit in South Africa in 2015.
"The Strategy is formulated to guide a common, coordinated
response by countries in Africa to combat the illegal trade in
wild fauna and flora," she said.
"It is meant to prevent, reduce and eventually eliminate the
illegal trade in wild fauna and flora in Africa through the
implementation of an African wide strategic framework," she
When to start the implementation of the strategy will depend
on how they will set up the first expert group, Wanambwa said.
Wanambwa said the AU Commission is in the process of setting
up a coordination mechanism for the implementation of the
"We hope to have the expert group formed soon after COP17,"
the official said.
Kenya seeks total ban on
ivory trade at CITES meeting
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Kenyan government said on Sunday that it will
lobby for a total ban on ivory trade during the 17th meeting of
conference of parties to the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species (CITES) which kicked off in South Africa
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said international
efforts are needed to deal with illegal trade in ivory products
which he said drives supply and demand.
"The trade is simple. Demand for illegal products drives
Deal with the trade, requires aggressive law enforcement,
effective elephant ivory and rhino horn movement control and
influential market dis-incentivisation," he told journalists in
"So, we will aggressively seek a total ban on ivory trade at
this Johannesburg CITES meeting," said Esipisu during his weekly
He said the East African nation will lobby the international
community to back its proposals on putting an end to trade in
trophies during the high level summit.
He said Nairobi remains committed to playing its rightful
role in ensuring that international trade in endangered species
does not threaten survival of wildlife species like elephants.
Kenya is a member of the African elephant coalition that has
lobbied the international community to support a ban on ivory
trade ahead of CITES meeting in Johannesburg.
The coalition will submit a set of proposals at the CITES
meeting calling on governments and multilateral agencies to
strengthen protection of elephants through outlawing trade in