The greatest threat to the Asian elephant’s survival is encroachment of its natural habitat by man. Deforestation and farming are clearing away their food source, causing many of these magnificent animals to die of starvation. A further reason why this magnificent animal is endangered is due to the fact that they are being hunted for their ivory tusks. This practice is illegal, yet poachers still earn vast sums of money for the elephant’s tusks.
Elephants can weigh up to 5.5 tons and stand at a height of 3 metres, yet for all their bulk and strength they are still extremely fragile. They can be found everywhere from evergreen forests to dry scrubland and can spend up to 20 hours a day feeding. An adult Asian elephant can consume up to 200 kg’s of food daily, ranging from fruits to berries and shrubs, leaves and bark.
Pollution of the environment in which Asian elephants live is also having a negative impact upon these animals. Today there are less than 50,000 to be found in the wild and that wild is slowly disappearing as vegetation is cleared away to make way for progress. Ironically elephants are used to clear large tracts of lands.
A battle for resources has led to tragic conflicts between Asian elephants and humans, resulting in the deaths of many elephants who are reported as ‘rogue’. Unfortunately aggressive behaviour from elephants can cause vast devastation and even the deaths of humans, so an aggressive elephant is quickly killed. Approximately 15,000 Asian elephants are kept in captivity, many under questionable circumstances. They are currently listed on the endangered species list and will continue to be so until conservation efforts are put in place to preserve what is left of their natural habitat.