The most recent update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has brought some bad news for African Elephants, and that's both species have been downgraded from being 'vulnerable' to being 'endangered.'
Based on an IFL Science report, the African forest elephant, also identified as Loxodonta cyclotis, has now been listed as Critically Endangered.
According to an announcement the IUCN recently made, the African savanna elephant or Loxodonta Africana is considered Endangered.
Elephants of Africa are playing key roles in economies, economies, and the collective imagination globally.
The IUCN Red List Assessments
In a statement, IUCN Director-General Dr. Bruno Oberle said, the latest IUCN Red List assessments of both species of African elephants highlight the insistent pressures these iconic animals have been encountering.
The said science information site specified in its report that African elephants were treated before as a single species. Still, the IUCN has formally recognized they are now made up of two different species.
The decision has come off the back of recent genomic evidence exhibiting that forest and savannah elephants were inherently and most possibly physically isolated for some half-a-million years.
The African forest elephant is the smaller between the two species, making the other species the largest living land animal in the world.
Living in Distinctly Different Habitats
It is also clear that both elephant species live in distinctly different habitats, which unusually overlap with each other.
Forest elephants reside in the tropical forests of Central Africa and in a range of habitats in West Africa. Savanna elephants, on the other hand, tend to reside in open grasslands and deserts discovered in a variety of habitats in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The latest reassessment comes after decades of tumbling numbers in the population, mainly at the hands of habitat loss and ivory poachers.
It is approximated that the number of African forest elephants has dropped by up to 86 percent over a period of a little over three decades, and African savanna elephants have declined by at least 60 percent over the past five decades.
Nonetheless, the loss of elephants is not identical through Africa. Even though many populations have suffered serious drops, others are on the rise and, according to the science report, have stayed stable.
However, the loss of elephants is not uniform across Africa. Although many populations have suffered severe declines, others are on the rise or have remained stable.
Hopes for the African Elephants
The numbers of forest elephants, for instance, have remained robust in parts of Gabon and the Republic of the Congo, and numbers of savanna elephants, on the other hand, have slowly been growing or staying stable for tens of years in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area of southern Africa.
Much of this down to the conservation initiatives' success, namely, active anti-poaching measures and better handling of land.
While this most recent news from the IUCN may seem bleak, conservation organizations say there is still a good reason to be positive about the African elephants' future.
According to African Species Director Bas Huijbregts, African Species Director from the World Wildlife Fund or WWF, the international community also has a vital role in guaranteeing that poaching levels continue to decline substantially species to have a chance during recovery.
A related report is shown on Africa Adventures' YouTube video below:
Check out more news and information on Endangered Animals on Science Times.