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Transcript of Keystone Species
A Keystone Species
The African Elephant
Where do they live?
African elephants, otherwise known as Loxodonta Africana, live in west, east, and south Africa.
What kind of keystone species are they?
African elephants are mutualists. They have a symbiotic relationship with olive baboons.
African elephants, in the end, are a very notable keystone species.
Not only are they important in the relations to other living organisms in their ecosystem, but they are important to the abiotic factors as well. (Their footprints collect water, their trails act as firebreakers, etc.)
African elephants are important to their ecosystem, so work to protect them!
Why is it important to its ecosystem?
Keeping the balance
Like we said, African elephants pull down trees and thorny bushes to help create grasslands. If the elephants didn't pull down trees and bushes, the grassland would become a woodland!
Many animals depend on the elephants to keep their habitat a savanna and to keep the ecosystem in check.
African elephants have an important job in keeping their ecosystem in balance. Without them, the African savanna might not even be a savanna!
Who do they affect?
The African savanna is the habitat of several of species like ostriches, zebras, wildebeests, meerkats, baboons, termites, and dung beetles. These species are adapted to grassland life and wouldn't survive in a woodland habitat. All theses species depend on the African elephants to keep their habitat cleared and remaining grassland. Then there are species that feed on these species like wild dogs, hyenas, cheetahs, and vultures. These species depend on the African elephant for their survival as well
Karen Ibarra & Georgia Tran
Their ecosystem is the African savanna.
The elephants provide the olive baboon, along with other organisms, with water by digging water holes.
The olive baboon, in return, keeps watch as the elephant digs, to ensure the elephants safety.
African Elephants are important to the ecosystem because they pull down thorny bushes to help create grasslands for animals to live in and their footprints create holes that water can collect in for animals to drink.
Their trails also act as fire breakers and water run offs!
Home, sweet home!
You'd be nothing without me
How dare you
How do humans threaten them?
Unfortunately, exploitation of African elephants for their ivory has been a factor in their population decline over the past 200 years.
The 1970s saw a period of uncontrolled trade, and the African elephant population was devastated. In Kenya alone, numbers crashed from an estimated 167,000 in 1973 to just 19,000 in 1989. The exploitation also had effects on the age and social structure of the elephants, because males were particularly targeted for their larger and more valuable tusks.
There were times where males were so scarce that females may have been unable to find a mate!
African elephants, being as important as they are to the African savanna ecosystem, should be protected at all costs.