The Asian elephant is one of the most intriguing and revered creatures in Asia, having been awarded god status by some civilisations and religions, yet their habitat and existence in the wild is increasingly threatened to the point that over the last 100 years the population has dwindled from around 200,000 to a mere 30,000. Requiring vast amounts of land and resources merely to exist, the actions of mankind have been at odds with the survival of these magnificent creatures for a long time but their decline has intensified as their habitat has been increasingly threatened in recent years.
Living predominantly in India and less abundant than their African relatives to begin with, this slightly smaller relative requires several hundred kilos of vegetation each day simply to sustain itself in an environment where it is often competing directly with mankind for the same resources. Given the scarcity of resources in its natural environment it follows that an animal with such extraordinary survival needs will cover a great deal of ground in search of what they require.
In an arduous environment where resources are scarce and mankind is harvesting massive amounts of timber for construction purposes, the habitat of the elephant is under constant threat and the proliferation of human settlements encroaching on their territories is cutting off migration routes, leading to frequent confrontation between man and elephant, often with disastrous consequences on either side.
Environmental concerns aside, these pachyderms are also hunted illegally for their precious ivory tusks along with their meat and their hides.
In addition to the dwindling wild population of asian elephants a large number of domesticated animals work side-by-side with mankind on a daily basis due to their enormous strength and resilience. Elephants are used for forestry operations and also for patrol and anti-poaching roles by enforcement authorities, particularly during monsoon season where their height and bulk allows them to reach areas that would otherwise be unreachable by other means. If you choose to adopt an elephant you could make a real contribution to wild elephant conservation efforts.