From: New Scientist
Ivory Coast’s elephant populations are now in catastrophic decline
Ivory Coast, named for its elephants, once had one of the largest elephant populations in West Africa. But now the country’s elephant numbers are in rapid decline.
Sery Gonedelé Bi at the University Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and his colleagues surveyed 25 protected forest areas across the country between 2011 and 2017. They also analysed media reports and records of conflicts between humans and elephants.
Based on their results, the researchers estimate that there are only 225 forest elephants left in Ivory Coast – a decline of 86 per cent since a survey conducted in 1994.
Estimates suggest that about a century ago, the population of forest elephants numbered between 3000 and 5000, says Gonedelé.
Based on dung counts, the team confirmed the presence of elephants in only four of the 25 protected areas they surveyed. Habitat degradation is a likely factor that has driven the decline in population.