African elephants once ranged all over Africa south of the Sahara desert. They lived in the forest, scrublands and grasslands (savanna). There are roughly half the elephants now as their were in 1970.
There are many reasons why the African elephant population is shrinking. In the past it was due to ivory hunting, but ivory bans have helped slow that threat – though illegal ivory poaching does still take place.
The biggest present day threat to their survival is habitat loss, as more and more of their range is developed into farms and villages. The irony is that, because of habitat loss, there are actually too many elephants in some areas for the shrinking wild habitat to support.
Many African countries are making the effort to protect their elephant populations and find ways for them to reduce human-elephant conflicts.
International conservation organizations like WWF (World Wildlife Fund), National Geographic Society, and others are raising money to protect elephant habitat and study ways to protect them from extinction.
As of 2000, the African elephant is listed as Endangered on the CITES IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List.
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