Deputy Executive Director of UNEP Ibrahim Thiaw warned that a shrinking population of elephants portends serious threat to economies, livelihoods and ecosystems in the continent.
While reacting to results of the Great Elephant Census that indicated the population of giant mammals in Africa had declined by 30 percent between 2007 to 2014, Thiaw urged concerted efforts to reverse the grim scenario.
The findings of the census show that poaching is still decimating elephant herds across Africa.
It reveals that over 144,000 elephants were lost in the 15 African countries over a seven-year period mainly because of poaching.
Thiaw said many African countries are grappling with decline in elephant population hence the need for collective action on the crisis.
UNEP has supported multilateral initiatives aimed at combating threats to African elephants, including poaching and shrinking habitat.
Thiaw said robust public private sector initiatives launched in recent years to strengthen protection of African elephants have started paying dividends.
He added that African governments and local communities have also recognized the need to strengthen protection of elephants given their enormous economic and aesthetic value.