National Geographic states that "a keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.
A keystone species' disappearance would start a domino effect. Other species in the habitat would also disappear and become extinct. The keystone species' disappearance could affect other species that rely on it for survival. For example, the population of deer or rabbits would explode without the presence of a predator. The ecosystem cannot support an unlimited number of animals, and the deer soon compete with each other for food and water resources. Their population usually declines without a predator such as a mountain lion."
The elephant, although not a predator, is a keystone species. It's survival is crucial to the survival of many other species. The demise of 96 elephants every day of the year is extremely worrying against this background. If this trend continues the disappearance of many other species could follow.
On World Elephant Day today we spare a thought for our gentle tuskers. Remember that there are many ways to contribute to wildlife conservation. Education is key and together we can make a difference.