The Root of the Issue
While every species of elephant faces their own unique set of challenges due to both location and biology, there is one unifying issue that threatens the continued survival of each and every wild elephant Over the last century, Habitat loss & Fragmentation has emerged as the major threat facing all wild elephants and it has shown no signs of slowing down. As the human population continues to grow and encroach onto natural elephant ranges, a terrifying pattern has taken hold. A larger human population requires more space to exist and more resources to survive and, due to this, elephant ranges are getting continually smaller as humans utilize more land for development, logging, and agriculture.
Human Elephant Conflict
It's no secret that elephants are massive animals, and massive animals require massive amounts of space to live in. With the largest species weighing in at up to 7 tons, it's not uncommon for an elephant to eat close to 300 pounds of food a day. The increasing encroachment by the human population has not only severely limited elephants' ability to graze but also led to countless instances of Human Elephant Conflict (HEC). With less room to graze, many wild elephants turn to local crops as a source of sustenance. An average sized elephant herd can decimate a farmer's livelihood in hours, leading to increased violence against elephant herds as retribution or a deterrent. There are victims on both sides of this battle, with hundreds of elephant and human lives lost each year due to the conflict.
As land is cleared and developed for human use, elephants have been forced to rely on small corridors of habitat in order to safely move amongst their ranges in search of food, water, and breeding opportunity. With these corridors continually shrinking, elephant herds are becoming smaller as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to socialize with other groups of elephants. The effect that this has on all species of elephant is severe. With limited breeding options, many populations turn to inbreeding, robbing them of the genetic diversity necessary to sustain a healthy population long term.
How We'll Help
The first step in combating this major issue that elephants face is to make sure there is still habitat worth saving. This is why, for the month of April, we will be running our Preserve The Herd campaign. In an attempt to spread awareness about the reality of Habitat Loss & Fragmentation, we will be partnering with with our friends at Wildlife Works to offset the carbon footprint of our shipping via their REDD+ initiative which protects over 500,000 acres of highly threatened Kenyan Forest and the thousands of elephants that migrate through it.
Wildlife Works' REDD+ Program
Ten to fifteen percent of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the destruction of tropical forests. By utilizing their carbon credit system, Wildlife Works’ Redd+ initiative hopes to negate over 1 million tonnes of CO2-e emissions per year for the next 30 years. REDD projects help to prevent the destruction of these forests by providing sustainable economic alternatives to those rural communities.
But Wait, There's More.
Next, we must take action to try and reverse some of the damage done to the habitats that are at risk so, from April 18th - April 28th, we will be be planting one tree for every order placed. It is our hope that this will provide some perspective for our customers and connect them to the deep rooted issues that arise from habitat destruction & fragmentation.
We have a long way to go in this fight but, if we never lose sight of our goals, we can make steps in the right direction.
Never forget that, together, we can create a sustainable future where elephants thrive.
To Learn more about Wildlife Works please visit their blog here.