Over several decades, rampant poaching and habitat loss have driven down populations of African forest elephants. Sadly, in 2021, the IUCN Red List listed forest elephants as Critically Endangered, the direst category, just under extinction.
Persistent funding shortfalls, made worse by the COVID pandemic, have left key biodiversity hotspots without the ranger coverage they need, leaving elephants vulnerable to large-scale commercial poachers.
That's not all – climate change is compounding these threats. Shifting rainfall patterns and shrinking range from habitat encroachment force elephants into conflict with people as these forest giants wander in search of resources.
There's one sure way to protect elephant habitat and prevent conflict with humans. People need sustainable livelihood options that will allow them to be the first line of defense against elephant poaching. African Wildlife Foundation helps formulate and implement strategies, like land use planning, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable use of non-timber forest products, which conserve nature while improving community income.
And alongside community conservation, rangers and local scouts need the right tools and funding to protect elephants in their natural environment.
Will you sign the African Wildlife Foundation's pledge to save forest elephants from being critically endangered?
I pledge to advocate for elephants in the following ways:
- I will educate myself and share information with my community to raise awareness for the threats to African elephants.
- I will join efforts to close the protected-area funding gap and get funding to organizations on the ground where it is needed most.
- I will champion local and Indigenous communities as conservation leaders.
- I will join AWF's community of wildlife defenders to stay up to date on how I can help.