It is only in the last couple of decades that genetic research was done to find the forest elephants of Africa are a completely different species to the bush elephants found out on the Savanna – which is the species most people see. Talking about these elephant species, bare in mind that the forest elephant has been shown to be more closely related to the mammoth than to the African Savanna elephant.
Recent analysis suggests that if we fail to stop the massacre of these elephants approximately 7% more CO2 will be emitted from rainforests in West Africa. If instead we managed to halt the march towards extinction and conserve these animals the extra CO2 that they caused to be stored could be worth around £34 billion ($43 billion).
This is because forest elephants knock down smaller trees. Smaller trees are far less capable of absorbing carbon and the clearance the forest elephants do by knocking down these smaller trees allows the bigger trees to thrive and live longer, thereby absorbing more carbon.
And in case you were thinking that this difference is probably negligible, we are talking about 3 billion tons of carbon. Emissions from the whole of the European Union are calculated to only be about 4.5 billion tonnes in 2018 to put this number in perspective.
There is a great deal of talk constantly about cutting our carbon footprint and about replanting large areas of woodland and forest around the world but it is clear that without looking after the woodlands we have properly they will not work as the carbon sink we require.