Endangered Smiling Baby Elephant

 

Smiling Baby Elephant

The photo above has received thousands of up votes on Reddit, generating comments like, “I haz grass,” and, “The world needs more elephants.” The African elephant is the 3rd largest animal walking the Earth. Their herds wander through 37 countries in Africa. They are easily recognized by their trunks, used for communication and handling objects, as well as their large ears, allowing them to radiate excess heat. It is estimated that probably 1/4-1/3 of the total African elephant population is made up of Forest Elephants. Weighing approximately 6 tons and 11 feet tall, the Forest Elephant population is in a sharp decline due to poaching for the international ivory trade.

Sadly, many members of this species are threatened. A 2013 report from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) found that, “Globally, illegal ivory trade activity has more than doubled since 2007.” A recent documentary followed the ivory trade from East Africa to Southeast Asia, revealing how local corruption in Africa and insatiable Chinese demand for ivory is pushing elephants closer to extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species currently lists African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) as “vulnerable.”

via HuffingtonPost