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African Elephant Information
Help elephants
and other African animals


"Nomkhubulwane" (Nom-koo-bull-wah'-nee), a life sized sculpture of an African elephant visited the El Paso Zoo March 15-26, 2010 to help draw attention to the problem elephants are having co-existing with people in Africa. Learn how you and your family can help elephants.

• Watch the Human Elephant Foundation Video
• Join the Friends of Nomkhubulwane (aka La Senora Elefanta) on Facebook
• Visit http://www.humanelephant.org/

In the last century, rampant ivory poaching and habitat loss caused African elephant numbers to drop from over ten million animals in 1900 to fewer than 500,000 by the late 1980's. Uncontrolled hunting for ivory and meat, and loss of habitat continue to threaten the African elephant today.

People often rely on wild animals as a source of meat (commonly referred to as bushmeat'). As populations increase, the demand for bushmeat within Africa is skyrocketing. To make matters worse, people from urban centers and from other continents are increasingly looking to Africa's forests as sources of wild products. This uncontrolled hunting is stripping Africa's wilderness areas of elephants and other coveted game animals. In addition to the ivory and bushmeat trades, the loss of natural elephant habitat and the resulting conflict between elephants and humans threaten elephant survival throughout Africa. As human populations grow and expand into remote areas, natural habitat is cleared and destroyed to make way for agriculture. Elephant populations are compressed into smaller ranges with limited food and water supplies. Hungry elephants may wander into villages and damage crops. People often kill elephants in an attempt to stop the crop raids and people are also sometimes killed trying to fend off elephants.

The specific threats to elephants vary in severity from region to region. Central Africa has been plagued by political instability and civil war which have led to an increased flow of guns into the region and unabated flow of ivory out. Economic hardship has driven people to use these weapons to kill elephants for food and for ivory.

By contrast, in well protected areas of Southern Africa, elephant numbers have stabilized or even increased. In some parks, elephants suffer from crowding due to loss of habitat and blockage of migration routes. In East Africa, elephant populations have decreased by 65 percent due to poaching and land conversion. Where elephants persist, conflict with humans is on the rise.

In 1988, the United States Congress passed the African Elephant Conservation Act to establish a fund to help protect, conserve, and manage African elephants. Special emphasis was placed on fortifying protection for elephants in countries with uncontrolled poaching, and developing conservation plans throughout the elephants' range (Source US Fish and Wildlife Service).

How to Take Action
The Zoo encourages people to think and act both locally and globally in helping wildlife. The 2008 Congressional appropriation of $1,476,600, which leveraged over $2.4 million in matching funds, funded 29 African elephant projects. Over 5000 El Paso Zoo visitors demonstrated their support for this program by signing a petition at the Zoo asking Congress to continue supporting conservation programs to help elephants and other endangered species.

You can help elephants today by contacting your representative in Congress and asking them to continue to support funding Multinational Species Conservation Funding.

You an also become a member of the El Paso Zoological Society. The El Paso Zoological Society, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed in 1963, is a charitable organization whose mission is to help the City of El Paso in expanding, upgrading and promoting the El Paso Zoo. Financial support goes for capital improvements, animal acquisition, conservation and educational programs for the Zoo. The Society's vision is to be the catalyst for the El Paso Zoo to provide a premier wildlife and natural habitat experience for residents of and visitors to the Paso del Norte region. For more information on memberships visit the Society's website at http://www.elpasozoosociety.org.

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Our mission is to celebrate the value of animals and natural resources and to create opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.