What is it about?

Climate change due to recent human activities threatens biodiversity. Wildlife faces major risks of extinction from the loss of habitat, natural food sources, and water supply. Large herbivores like the African elephant are particularly vulnerable. The authors of this study have explored future changes in the distribution of this keystone species under changing climate and land use patterns. Their predictions are based on Species Distribution Models. They predict that African elephants will lose about half of their suitable habitat by the middle of this century. This condition will worsen around 2070. They predict most of these changes will be due to rising temperatures and shifting rainfall and land use patterns.

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Why is it important?

Climate change and habitat destruction are driving biodiversity loss. To avoid this, we need to identify changes in the distribution of plants and animals. Most places on Earth are facing rising temperatures and erratic rainfall. Africa has frequent droughts and floods. The African elephant is at risk of losing its natural habitat because of these events. Its natural food and water supplies are under threat. Knowing how its natural range will change over time can help manage the species better. It can help plan migratory corridors and trans-frontier landscapes so that the animal can move safely. This study provides information to identify such eco regions. This can help conserve a majestic and important keystone species. KEY TAKEAWAY: Climate and land use changes threaten African ecosystems and its fauna. This study predicts how the range of the African elephant will change over time under the changing environment. The findings can help conserve the species by planning safe migratory routes to more suitable habitats.

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This page is a summary of: Modelling continental range shift of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) under a changing climate and land cover: implications for future conservation of the species, African Zoology, January 2021, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2020.1846617.
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