Close Window
Rare but Tough Elephant Endangered by Africa Conflict December 14, 2012
Gourma elephant
“The uprising occurring in northern Mali puts them (the Gourma elephants) at greater risk, as does increasing human settlement in their traditional territory and the growing risk of ivory poaching.” — Jake Wall, University of British Columbia.
Civil unrest on the fringes of the Sahara Desert in northern Mali is putting the survival of a critically endangered species of elephant at risk.

The Gourma elephant is arguably the world’s toughest — adapted to endure frequent sandstorms, water shortages and temperatures above 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

The elephants travel more than 12,000 square miles annually in search of food and water – the largest area ever recorded for any elephant species.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Oxford University caution that only about 350 of the animals survive, and at least three have been poached since Mali’s northern region fell to rebel forces last year.

Profits from the illegal ivory trade are believed to be funding African terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab, the Janjaweed and the Lord’s Resistance Army, experts say.

Photo: File