| Share facebook twitter | RSS

Ambassador report

Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] Thematic Report- BIODIVERSITY

by Anishka Jha | 17-05-2019 01:55 Comments 6 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

The discussion on Biodiversity cannot be complete without highlighting keystone species. A keystone species is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. Without key stone species our Biodiversity will become half with in a year.

Through this article I want to highlight one of the important  keystone species that is Elephant. Their consumption of plants helps control the physical and biological aspects of an ecosystem.


In African savannas such as the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, elephants are a keystone species. Elephants eat shrubs and small trees, such as acacia, that grow on the savanna. Even if an acacia tree grows to a height of a meter or more, elephants are able to knock it over and uproot it. This feeding behavior keeps the savanna a grassland and not a forest or woodland. 


With elephants to control the tree population, grasses thrive and sustain grazing animals such as antelopes, wild beasts, and zebras. Smaller animals such as mice and shrews are able to burrow in the warm, dry soil of a savanna. Predators such as lions and hyenas depend on the savanna for prey. 



Since 1986, Elephants have been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is primarily threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.


Sri Lanka is known for Elephant Orphanages. The country has about 5,500 wild elephants on the island. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was founded in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation.

 In my visit to an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka in 2017, I sharply observed the elephants behavior and the way they are being taken care of there. I saw the elephants were being fed and the keepers cleaning the water troughs and refilling them.  it was so lovely to see them being washed and playing in the river spraying water over each other. I was surprised  to see feet of chained elephants had no cuts or sores. It seemed Elephants are very well taken care of in these orphanages.

Elephant Orphanages of Sri Lanka are perfect inspiration to save such an important keystone species. Extreme commercialization has brought  this mammal on the brink of endangered species list. We have to look for compatible method of conservaton and commercialization of Elephants.



Wonhee Mentor

  • Wonhee Mentor says :
    Hello Anishka!

    Thank you for your thorough report on the role of elephants in the savanna. As elephants can control the tree population and preserve the savanna as it is, protecting elephants has more meaning than just protecting one specie. It is saving the biodiversity. Plus, it is really great that you had a chance to visit elephant orphanage. I wish elephants are well taken care of in the orphanages! I look forward your next report. : )

    Wonhee Mentor
    Posted 23-05-2019 20:48

Louis Mentor

  • Louis Mentor says :
    Hi Anishka,

    Thank you for writing about our keystone species - Elephants! It was great to know that their consumption of plants helps control the physical and biological aspects of an ecosystem. As they are contributing a lot to the ecosystem, we should make sure elephants are being taken care of and protected from illegal hunters who aim for their teeth for profit purposes. Also, thanks to your report, I got to learn a new word today - Keystone animal! (Great information) Please keep up with the good work and I'm looking forward to read your next report.

    Louis Mentor
    Posted 20-05-2019 23:15

Anishka Jha

  • Anishka Jha says :
    Thanks everyone:)
    Posted 19-05-2019 21:43

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Hello anishka
    Elephant is really an important keystone species.
    Thank you so much for this detailed report.
    Green cheers!
    Posted 17-05-2019 16:07

Shreya Aryal

  • Shreya Aryal says :
    Hello Anishka,
    You have beautifully explored the role of elephants in maintaining savannas as a grassland.We all shoyld look forward for conserving them.
    Green Cheers from Nepal:-)
    Posted 17-05-2019 12:18

Himani Chand

  • Himani Chand says :
    Thank you so much for this report.
    The word ' Key-Stone Species' is really a new word that I got to learn and understand about.

    Posted 17-05-2019 10:18

Post a comment

Please sign in