The largest walking animal on Earth (according to the World Wildlife Fund), African Elephants are also some of the most majestic and fascinating creatures that life, and this planet has ever produced.
Perennially plagued by the threat of poachers and habitat loss, these gentle giants are now being affected by climate change in some of the worst ways. Fortunately, this species is widespread throughout Africa, thus have population-wide exposure to “broad climate variability, and are able to feed on a variety of foods. Their resilience thus far has been a byproduct of their “flexibility inherent in these traits, along with a relatively large population size” (WWF), thankfully, but they are increasingly under threat from the warming impacts of climate change.
Their overall sensitivity to drastically changing climate, heavy reliance on fresh water, and modest genetic variation could make the coming decades very difficult for the future of their species if we don’t intervene with the changing climate. Coupled with massive habitat loss, thus limiting their range of movement and migration across the continent, has only worsened their state. Their population has maintained stable numbers, and a broad dispersion and exposure to different climates will certainly help them should they find themselves in trouble; hopefully their genetic variability will enable them to the changes, should they have to. However, with sources of fresh water being the biggest question, it is imperative that they are monitored and have access to sufficient hydration, as this severely influences their reproduction and migration patterns.
Elephants are a durable species and will find a way to thrive in situations that may not be conducive to doing so. But, with climate change quickly warming and disrupting a multitude of rhythmic mannerisms and processes amongst the natural world, action needs to be taken to preserve the biological life around us. These innocent elephants, just as any other, are being unnecessarily punished for our actions, and deserve a place on this planet.