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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59469. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059469. Epub 2013 Mar 4.

Devastating decline of forest elephants in central Africa.

Author information

1
Global Conservation Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York, United States of America. fmaisels@wcs.org

Abstract

African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.

PMID:
23469289
PMCID:
PMC3587600
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0059469
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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