The Forest Elephants, Guardians Of The Trees

African forest elephants are at risk of extinction, which is dangerous given their role in maintaining the forests of the Congo basin.
The forest elephants, guardians of the trees

In addition to the pachyderms that inhabit the savannah, few know that elephants other than the African elephant also live on the African continent, known as forest elephants.

The mysterious guardians of the forest

This species, until recently considered a subspecies of the African elephant, is actually a different species, smaller than the African elephant  and having an extra toenail on each leg.

In addition,  their tusks are somewhat pink and harder and thinner than those of their larger relative . The species lives in the jungles of Central Africa: it mainly inhabits the forests that populate the Congo basin.

Hidden in these dense forests,  this mammal species is threatened in the same way as its other relatives and is therefore considered vulnerable according to the IUCN Endangered Species List.

However, the beauty and mystery surrounding forest elephants is not the only reason to protect them:  these animals are one of the most important key species, being true engineers of nature.

The forest elephants, guardians of the trees

true engineers of nature

A new study published in  Nature Geoscience  warns that  these forest elephants are critical to the emergence of slower-growing plants, trees vital to accumulating the carbon dioxide  we are releasing into the atmosphere, a factor significantly linked to climate change.

This team estimates that the extinction of the last elephants in the forest can be costly : the ecosystem service they provide us with the creation of these forests, veritable deposits of carbon dioxide, amounts to 43 trillion dollars.

The forest elephants, guardians of the trees

This work functions as follows: for food, the  elephants ignore the slow – growing plants, and those opting for fast growth. This allows the former to thrive, something they could not do without elephants.

The conservation of forest elephants

These higher wood density forests have a much greater capacity to accumulate carbon dioxide. Therefore, it is very important to conserve this species to fight global warming, because, like the oceans, forests are one of our greatest guarantees in the fight against this phenomenon.

And this is not its only threat, as these animals are also slaughtered for their meat, through the bushmeat trade, linked to the military events that have taken place in these countries in recent years. Thus, the killing of elephants has increased even more.

Like the African elephant, this species is protected by CITES in its first appendix since 1989, a move that, along with restrictions on ivory trade, does not seem to guarantee the conservation of a species we depend on to fight change. climate.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button