Save the Elephants distributed new pictures Monday that depict the devastating drought and the struggle for survival in Mali , one of the poorest nations in the world.
"Six elephants have already been found dead," the group wrote in a news release accompanying the photos.
"Four others, including three calves, were recently extracted from a shallow well into which they had fallen when searching for water. Only the largest survived."
The youngest are in the most danger, since their smaller trunks can't reach deep into the few remaining wells, the group said.
The worst drought in 26 years is threatening the existence of the "last desert elephants in West Africa," the northernmost herds in the continent, Save the Elephants said.
Locals learn to work with, and appreciate, their seasonal neighbors forest, and the elephants open it up by trampling down the bush and exposing the grass to light. They break off small branches, which goats cannot reach. Often you'll see a herder with his goats following the elephants through the forest." Traore says elephants have become an integral part of the planting season. "Many herders and farmers take the arrival of the elephants as the start of the rainy season. They won't plant until they see them, because the elephants won't move until they're sure they can find water." The PCVBGE project says local communities have an economic incentive to save the elephants. source:http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=80079
(6)Religions practised by the population: Muslim 90%, indigenous beliefs 9%, Christian 1%.
(8)Economic Overview: Mali is among the poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semidesert and with a highly unequal distribution of income. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export, along with gold. The government has continued its successful implementation of an IMF-recommended structural adjustment program that is helping the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali's adherence to economic reform and the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994 have pushed up economic growth to a sturdy 5% average in 1996-2006. Worker remittances and external trade routes for the landlocked country have been jeopardized by continued unrest in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire.