How many elephants are there left in the world?

How many elephants are there left in the world?

Asian Elephants Population Country Wise 2021
Asian Elephants Population Country Wise 2021

How Many Elephants Are Left

How many elephants are there left in the world?

According to data collected by the WWF, just under 100 years ago there were over 10 million African elephants. Whilst in Asia, there were over 100,000 of the smaller, Asian elephants.

The numbers today are upsettingly low.

According to our calculations, less than 500,000 elephants exist today – and that is of both African and Asian species. In Africa, there are approximately 415,000 individuals left whilst in Asia, a mere 40,000.

Why are the numbers so low?

For those of you who closely follow the conservation situation in Africa, you will have heard that conservation efforts are having a positive effect and rates of poaching are going down – and they are. Statistics from Poaching Facts, show that since 2012 there has been a significant downward trend in instances of poaching.

So, it begs the question, why are the elephant populations still so low?

Well, the truth is poaching is still rife. An elephant tusk is worth an absolute fortune and for a poverty-stricken individual in East Africa poaching may seem like a great investment for his family. Add to this the fact that local people, who could be a bulwark against poachers, are occasionally apathetic to the large mammals. Elephants are often nuisances to local people and their livelihoods.

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The main reason elephant populations are so low however is because we have only just emerged out of the worst period for elephant poaching in human history. Instances of poaching may have dropped since their peak in 2012, but the last 25 years have been a living nightmare for elephants.

The 1980s were a bad decade for elephants. Rampant poaching caused the elephant population in Africa to decrease from 1.3 million to 600,000. Eventually, CITES banned the commercial ivory trade in 1989 due to the alarming figures.

However, over the next two decades, CITES repeatedly backtracked on its decision and granted several African countries the right to sell to countries where the demand was high like Japan and China.

How fast are elephant populations growing?

Well, elephant populations struggle to increase for many reasons and many of them are extremely difficult, if not impossible to solve.

In Kenya, the situation seems rosy, since the devastation of the 1980s, elephant populations have more than doubled. They went from around 16,000 to 34,000.

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However, not all African countries are having the same success as Kenya. According to the Great Elephant Census, elephant populations decreased by about a third from 2007 to 2014 and growth has been slow since then.

Elephants suffer massively from poaching which is an issue that nearly every sane person can agree on. However, they also suffer from growing human populations in African countries. In Kenya, the human population has increased from 31 million in 2000 to 53 million in 2021. The land that elephants could freely roam is rapidly shrinking.

This is why it is imperative that we invest money into methods of mitigating against human-wildlife conflict. Whilst it may seem unlikely, there are easy and affordable ways of creating symbiotic relationships between elephants and local people.

Help our cause

Sometimes, it is important to zoom out a little bit. Zoom out of your individual perspective and take in the wider perspective, because it is often when you do this that you can gain a new mindset, and motivation, for your efforts.

In the non-stop world of elephant conservation, it is too easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day nitty gritty details. How many carcasses did we discover today? How many young bull tuskers emerged this year? How many snares and encampments did we clear?

  The state of the world’s elephant populations

All this information is vitally important, and it helps keep us on track, but we need to keep one eye open to the global situation and whether our efforts are making a difference.

Here at Tsavo Trust, our task is particularly different. Whilst, in general, we are an elephant and wildlife conservation organisation, we also have the specific task of protecting the current and next generations of Kenya’s super tuskers. These animals are highly targeted by poachers due to their massive ivory tusks which can sell for around $150,000 each.

If you want to help us with this momentous task, you can go to our donation page. Donating is really easy, and we appreciate any and all amounts because the money goes directly toward preserving the next generation of elephants.

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