Following the 2017 drought, when many elephants died in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, there was attempts to reassure the public regarding this particular situation (https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-and-biodiversity/elephants-in-drought-hit-karnataka-tamil-nadu-die-to-hunger-thirst-57661).
Indeed, we have just published an article based on thousands of observations in India and Nepal. With the lead author Dr. Rajapandian Kanagaraj an alumni of the Wildlife Institute of India, and currently at the National Museum of Natural Sciences at Madrid, Spain, this paper shows that global warming will destroy half of the elephant habitat in India. A first modelling technique detected the relationship between environment and elephant range. Then a second set of models proposed range changes under different climate change scenarios.
The results show that by the end of the century, 42% of the present elephant range will be lost because of global warming and land use changes. The temperature increase will affect the vegetation to provoke irreversible ecological damages and make ecosystems unusable by elephants. With impacts of this magnitude, we would also be wise to accelerate adaptation of farming practices because crop and animal production will certainly be badly affected as well.
The view of “business-as-usual” with wildlife – and our world – is an attitude of the past. We enter a period where all efforts possible to protect and mitigate global warming must be made.