By SABRINA FAHRAJABAThe last year has brought us with it a great deal of change, and one of the biggest is the announcement by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Friday that the world is in danger of losing a third of its wildlife.
The world’s estimated 5,000 elephants, tigers, cheetahs and rhinos are the most threatened animal species on the planet.
Elephants and tigers are the world most widely hunted animals, and the cheetah is considered the most endangered species by the IUCN.
Elephant populations have been declining at a staggering rate in Africa, where they have suffered over 90% of their historical range loss since the 1990s.
The IUCNs new report on the global threats to elephants and tigers paints a bleak picture, citing an alarming increase in poaching, habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflicts as the biggest threats to the species.
The report said the elephants are facing severe poaching pressures and habitat loss is becoming a more serious threat, but conservationists are also concerned about the impact of climate change and the extinction of the cheeto, the only remaining surviving member of the African elephant family.
The cheetare was hunted to extinction in the wild during the 1960s.
It is thought to have been extinct in the Serengeti region of Africa, about 80 miles south of the capital, Nairobi.
The conservation group WWF-Nepal, the conservation group Save the Elephants, and IUC Natal have teamed up to fight the poaching crisis and to help conserve the animals.
“Elephant conservation is not only a moral imperative but a moral and economic imperative, and conservation is inextricably linked to economic development and development is linked to conservation,” said IUCn senior scientific adviser Jan Egeland.