Maisels F, Strindberg S, Blake S, Wittemyer G, Hart J, Williamson EA, Aba'a R, Abitsi G, Ambahe R, Amsini F, Bakabana PC, Hicks T, Bayogo R, Bechem M & Morgan BJ (2014) Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa. PLoS ONE, 8 (3), Art. No.: e59469. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059469
African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.
Additional co-authors: Rene L. Byers, Anicet N. Bezangoye, Patrick Boundja, Nicolas Bout, Marc Ella Akou, Lambert Bene Bene, Bernard Fosso, Elizabeth Greengrass, Falk Grossmann, Clement Ikamba-Nkulu, Omari Ilambu, Bila-Isia Inogwabini, Fortune Iyenguet, Franck Kiminou, Max Kokangoye, Deo Kujirakwinja, Stephanie Latour, Innocent Liengola, Quevain Mackaya, Jacob Madidi, Bola Madzoke, Calixte Makoumbou, Guy-Aimé Malanda, Richard Malonga, Olivier Mbani, Valentin A. Mbendzo, Edgar Ambassa, Albert Ekinde, Yves Mihindou, Prosper Motsaba, Gabin Moukala, Anselme Mounguengui, Brice S. Mowawa, Christian Ndzai, Stuart Nixon, Pele Nkumu, Fabian Nzolani, Lilian Pintea, Andrew Plumptre, Hugo Rainey, Bruno Bokoto de Semboli, Adeline Serckx, Emma Stokes, Andrea Turkalo, Hilde Vanleeuwe, Ashley Vosper, Ymke Warren.
Fiona Maisels added a comment, 'Update to Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa: 2002-2013', to this article 11/02/2014
PLoS ONE: Volume 8, Issue 3