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Transcript of Elephants
How Are Scientists Addressing Poaching?
Elephants are already endangered, even slightest temperature change can lower their survival chances dramatically
Ariadne Wicker-Basket, Anna Weis, JJ Niemann, Nicole Bunder
As heat causes freshwater supplies to dwindle, risk of drought, death, and infectious diseases
Biggest killer of elephants in Myanmar -
Elephants thrive at optimum temperature (23 degrees C)
Myanmar region predicted to rise 0.1 to 3 degrees C over next 30 years, could wipe out the entire elephant population
Youngest elephants (calves) are most susceptible
If calves die before they can meet, species cannot survive
Fewer "monsoon months" in Myanmar -> less rainfall, more drought -> increase of elephant deaths
To save elephants, we must identify and fund efficient actions that address the supply, trafficking and demand for ivory.
Demand for ivory products in China needs to end
No demand = no poaching
At borders, ivory must be seized and trade disrupted
Radioactive leftovers from Eisenhower-era bomb tests could help save the African elephants from extinction
This method determines a tusk's age
A lot of the trade regulations depend on the year or age of that tissues
We can tell what has been traded illegally based on the date that the Elephant was killed
Poachers will now be able to get caught & this will discourage poachers from killing elephants because there now will be consequences
Method analyzes how much radiocarbon is in a tusk, which is then compared with known amounts in the atmosphere over time
The radiocarbon in their tusks comes from plants, which absorb the element, which allows scientists to figure out when the tusk was collected.
What can we do?
Herbivores, Keystone Species
The Ivory Trade
scattered throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia
Male african elephants are largest living terrestrial animals
Can live up to 70 years in the wild
Predators: Lions, hyenas, tigers, and other elephants
Live in family groups consisting of a few females, their calves, and one male matriarch that leads the pack.
The Human Desire for ivory has surpassed the efforts to stop the killing of African Elephants for their tusks
Ivory is used to make decorative items, jewelry, and other knickknacks
Store owners in China need a license to sell items made with ivory, many store owners forge a license and illegally sell the ivory
International Union for Conservation of Nature:
African Elephants - Vulnerable
Asian Elephants - Endangered
Biggest threats: Ivory trade, habitat destruction
Every year, at least
33,000 elephants are poached.
Short History of the Ivory Trade
Researchers believe that Elephants will go extinct in the next decade if killing continues at this rapid rate.
Loss of Keystone Species:
Irreversible damage to ecosystem.
Economic and Political Consequences:
"Poaching threatens peace and security in a number of countries where organized crime, insurgency and terrorism are often closely linked."
Unbalanced relationship between Africa and China (highest demand for ivory), which leads to political unrest.
Negative Economic effect: Africa and Asian countries rely on wildlife for tourism industry. Extinction of elephants can lead to economic hardship
Separation and displacement caused by poaching has lasting psychological impacts on Elephants. Similar to PTSD.
Younger elephants are becoming increasingly aggressive without older males to keep them in check. Reports have seen young adult males killing more Rhinos.
Pilanesberg vs. Amboseli Elephants
Donate to organizations like:
Elephant poaching crisis is now too large for any one organization or government to solve
Requires a coalition that can tackle poaching, ivory trafficking, and ivory demand
Goal of ECF (Elephant Crisis Fund) is to quickly fund the most innovative/effective projects in these three areas
Supporting and donating to these funds will help effectively end poaching and the ivory trade, which will dramatically decrease the endangerment of Elephants
We cannot directly affect climate change, but we can directly affect the limitation and outlaw of poaching
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