Elephants Feel Threatened, Seek Protection In Botswana
Apparently, elephants are intelligent enough to know where they are threatened and where they are protected; and currently, they feel safe in Botswana. A study suggested that they are avoiding places where they feel they are in danger and go to places that feel safer for them. For the time being, poachers and traffickers are their biggest threat.
According to BBC, 30% of Africa's elephants have already vanished in a span of seven years, and half of its remaining pachyderms are predicted to disappear in nine years. Such claim was based on the result of the first pan-African survey of savannah elephants, which was funded by Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder. The survey likewise determined the worst affected areas — Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Cameroon.
Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders in Botswana said that the ivory poaching crisis has caused 144,000 elephants to disappear since 2007. He added that 30,000 elephants vanish every year. Chase was also the principal investigator of the study.
"We are housing a lot of refugee elephants in Botswana," Otisitswe Broza Tiroyamodimo said. Tiroyamodimo is the country's director of Department of Wildlife and National Parks. He added that the current number of elephants is really high and puts great pressure on the environment. This is becoming a major problem because Botswana can not accommodate so many elephants even without the worst drought.
At present, soldiers patrol the border to fight and prevent poaching. This is indeed a great challenge, for the risk keeps on increasing each day. NPR reported that illegal poachers are selling elephant tusks in the Chinese market.
Meanwhile, the pursuit for ivory is not the lone reason of elephant deaths. In other parts of the world, particularly Cambodia, elephants are at risk of dying due to exhaustion and heat stroke. In April, Nature World News reported about the death of Sambo, a 45-year-old elephant, after carrying tourists around. This led to a petition to lessen the work hours of elephants.
With different kinds of danger around them, elephants indeed need to seek refuge. The decrease in their number in various parts of the world is alarming; hence their need for real protection.