Tanzania is an ideal destination for animal lovers and nature travel enthusiasts, as there are plenty of wild beasts roaming the lands. If you want to scout out a herd of elephants, International Expeditions’ Kenya and Tanzania Safaris could be just the ticket to making your dream a reality. However, these majestic African creatures are threatened by poachers, and their numbers have been dropping dramatically in recent years.

Many of the animals that make their homes across Tanzania and Kenya are endangered, and elephants may soon join the ranks — the population of these giant beasts has declined substantially in the past decade. A recent survey of two national parks revealed that elephant populations have dropped about 42 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Tanzanian President Jayaka Kikwete recently ordered an investigation to determine the cause of the sudden and severe drop in their population. The report indicates that in the Selous National Park, an average of 50 elephants are being brought down by poachers every day. President Kikwete also announced a five-year plan to protect and preserve Tanzania's African elephants.

A few decades ago, there were millions of elephants living in Africa, but now the number is closer to only half a million. Poachers are likely a major cause for the decline, since ivory is a hot commodity and there aren't any legal means of acquiring the precious material. The Guardian reports that last year, authorities seized more than 23 tons of illegally-traded ivory, which is the highest amount since the international ivory ban went into effect in 1989.

News like this is the reason eco-travel is so important. Awareness is one of the first steps to preserving and improving natural regions and the welfare of animals living there, and visitors will be sure to find out lots about Tanzania's wildlife so they can share the knowledge with others when they get back from their East African safari.

For the latest travel trends and exciting discoveries, visit our Kenya & Tanzania Safari Travel News section.