Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Elephant Poaching

Elephant poaching has many adverse affects on elephant behaviour and African forest and Savannah biodiversity.

- Elephants keep habitats open for other species by feeding on wild bush and transforming it into grasslands. An adult male can eat up to seventy kilograms of plants each day.
- Their droppings disperse seeds and promote plant growth. Dung beetles consume and bury the feces, fertilizing the soil.
- Poaching disrupts elephant psychological health. Stress hormones called glucocorticoids are found more often in disrupted families, especially ones lacking matriarchs, than in complete families. Young elephants living in a park that lost older male elephants to poaching displayed aggressive behaviour such as killing rhinoceroses. When older male elephants were introduced to the park, the aggression subsided.
- Elephants are often seen as the architects of African plant diversity. Though they damage forests and crops, they are also the most significant distributer of plant seeds and therefore, plant life, in the African savannahs and forests. As Howthorne and Parren state, ‘Evidence [supports] the hypothesis that plant populations are collapsing without elephants.’ (Hawthorne, Page 133)

Elephants are important to African society as well.

- Elephant viewing is an important factor of ecotourism, which is a huge source of income for Africans working in the lodging, food, and tourism industries.

How Important Are Forest Elephants to the Survival of Woody Plant Species in Upper Guinean Forests?
William D. Hawthorne and Marc P. E. Parren
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Vol. 16, No. 1 (Jan., 2000), pp. 133

No comments:

Post a Comment