Ivory Coast Without Ivory? Massive Extinction of African Forest Elephants in Côte d’Ivoire

Recent years have witnessed a widespread and catastrophic decline in the number of forest elephants in protected areas in Côte d’Ivoire, according to a study published today (October 14, 2020) in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sery Gonedelé Bi of Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny d’Abidjan-Cocody, and colleagues.

In precolonial and colonial times, Côte d’Ivoire probably hosted one of the largest elephant populations in West Africa, resulting in the country’s name, which translates to Ivory Coast. During the last three decades, elephant populations have sharply decreased, mainly because of forest agricultural clearing. By the early 1990s, the total number of savannah and forest elephants in the entire country was estimated to be less than 360.

The most recently collected data on Côte d’Ivoire elephants are at least one decade old, and most of these studies did not follow a standardized protocol. In the new study, the authors present updated information on the distribution and conservation status of forest elephants in Côte d’Ivoire. The authors analyzed dung counts, records of human-elephant conflicts, media reports, and interview survey data obtained from 2011 to 2017.

Of the 25 protected areas surveyed, elephant presence was confirmed in only four areas, where elephant density was low. More than half of the protected areas had been completely converted to farms and human settlements. Protected areas with higher levels of protection had a higher probability of hosting an elephant population.

The presence of elephants inside protected areas was affected by human population size, habitat degradation, and the proportion of forest converted to cocoa plantation. According to the authors, aggressive conservation actions, including law enforcement and ranger patrolling, are needed to protect the remaining forest elephant populations.

The authors add: “The large majority of the protected area of Côte d’Ivoire has lost its entire elephant populations as a consequence of the lack of conservation measures. Out of the 25 protected areas surveyed, forest elephants of Côte d’Ivoire are now confined into small populations in four protected areas.”

Reference: “Ivory Coast without ivory: Massive extinction of African forest elephants in Côte d’Ivoire” by Jean-Louis Kouakou, Sery Gonedelé Bi, Eloi Anderson Bitty, Célestin Kouakou  Alphonse Kouassi Yao, Kouadio Bénoîtype Kassé and Soulemane Ouattara, 14 October 2020, PLoS ONE.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232993

ConservationEcologyElephantsPLOSZoology
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  • Ron McCune

    REBEL’S DAILY REPORTS
    “HELLO! HELLO! Can anybody hear us! You are killing us and standing by and doing nothing to stop this killing of us! Please help save us animals before we all disappear from the face of the Earth!” said the animals of the world to the humans of the planet. “You humans have taken away the ability for us animals to live freely, unharmed by humans with access to land, water and food to live! That is not right! Us animals are dying and getting ill because of the ways you humans treat us! Can’t you humans at least set up water and feed stations for us animals in guarded, safe, animals only, connecting areas of large strips of land that extend throughout the lands and nations and continent we are on! Heck, perhaps you humans can even set up observation guard post and patrols to help keep us animals alive. Is that too much to ask? I hope that there would be many volunteers to help do that. Also if you humans help feed us animals and provide us with water then us animals will feel more wanting to have babies because us animals will have more babies when food and water is plentiful and easily available because us animals never reproduce too many offspring in times when food and water is scarce because unlike you humans us animals only reproduce enough offspring that we can feed. So PLEASE, don’t wait for governments but do it yourselves, provide feed and water to us animals! You humans could even set up tourist observation points to make money sightseeing! Put cameras all over our animal areas which you can make money off of t.v. media. You humans could even set up mirrors, scratch post and mats, toys, balls, swings, showers, slides, and numerous other things for us animals do do besides just just sitting around wondering what the heck to do if we are fed and watered well. Perhaps you can even set up something that each animal one by one would gladly walk through to get a certain treat. Once in the very narrow area to get the treat things would pop out of camouflaged something that would either give the animals a shot or blood sample or medicine or what ever else it can do that is good for the animal. We could even douse their bodies with whatever it takes to get rid of ticks or other things that animals don’t want on their bodies. An excellent scratch post or mat is desperately needed by the animals of the world! Perhaps a natural looking corporate ad display at these human sponsored animal feed, water and care posts will surely bring in some bucks as t.v. viewers worldwide will be able to watch us animals which are more interesting and exciting than what you humans have on t.v. now! So please save us animals before you kill us all!”
    The animals looked at the humans from the forest and waterways of the planet and wondered what the humans would do. So am I! DO SOMETHING NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Read facebook.com/ron.mccune.3 for much more info. about this and a lot more.