Protected areas must be connected to save African elephants

The vast African savannas make up almost half of the continent and represent a habitat crucial for many species, incl African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) at risk extinction. This situation prompted the introduction of targeted protection measures and a recent study published on Scientific advanceshas produced promising results regarding the effectiveness of such measures in the Southern African region. It seems, in fact, that the effort devoted storage space they succeeded stop the decline population of African elephants in this specific area.

African savannas cover 13.5 million km2, of which 10% are protected and 2.2 million km2 (16%) supports elephants Africans around the world. However, it must be said that these territories also host half a billion people, which poses a high risk of conflict between human activities and wildlife. So the question spontaneously arises: How can elephants be protected? The key to ensuring their long-term survival, according to this recent study, lies in creating interconnected protected areas.

To reach this conclusion, a group of researchers conducted Analysis detailed by calculating growth rates over 100 populations elephants in southern Africa during this period between 1995 and 2020, who represent approximately 70% of all African elephants. In short, I Result research offers quite a perspective positive. Data suggests that currently the number of individuals is the same as 25 years ago. It’s a small but big victory for conservation, considering that there is currently a high rate of decline in biodiversity due to human activity.

However, the situation is not uniform in each region examined. In some areas, such as southern Tanzania, eastern Zambia and northern Zimbabwe, elephant populations have declined sharply, mainly due to poaching for ivory. Conversely, those present in other regions such as northern Botswana are fortunately booming.


To get a clearer picture of the situation, scientists examined the characteristics population local to identify the factors that make them up stable, so it neither increases nor decreases. The team found that such populations live extensive central areas characterized by a high level of protection and minimal impact on humans, surrounded by “buffer zones” in which some sustainable activities such as agriculture and forestry are allowed.

In addition, the distinctive characteristic of these central areas is their own connections to other parks, a condition that allowed the safe movement of herds. They therefore found that what makes elephant populations stable is these ecological corridors which allow them to move. “Bumpers provide cover for elephants when the core population grows too large, but also provide escape routes when pachyderms face poor environmental conditions or other threats such as poaching,” the researchers explain.

In conclusion, these magnificent mammals need to be preserved make connections between the different areas they inhabit. This approach favors the establishment of a natural balanceminimizes conservation efforts. Populations that have more migration options are actually more robust and stable, a crucial factor given the uncertainties also associated with the effects of climate change. “Invitation to connect the parks it’s nothing newThere have been many voices in this regard,” Huang said. “However, surprisingly little concrete evidence of the effectiveness of this action has been published to date. This study helps quantify why this practice is so necessary.”

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