How endangered are they?
Asian Elephants are known to be very social animals, creating groups of related females who support each other and their calves. These calves take up to five years before they are weaned from their mother, so forming these protective social groups is vital to their safety. At 17 years old, they reach maturity and can begin the next generation. Because this wonderful process takes quite some time, it is difficult for Asian Elephants to re-populate and thus, the world has seen a drastic decline in populations. The current global population of Asian Elephants is fewer than 50,000 individuals. This means that in just the past three generations (~75 years), the elephant population has fallen by over 50%.
Why are they endangered?
Reduction of viable habitat and illegal poaching are the main contributors to rapid population decline.
There was a time when these incredible animals roamed across nearly all of the Asian Continent. They are now confined to a mere 15% of their original range. Human activities, such as farming, logging, and land development, lead to increases in conflict with wildlife. Unfortunately, from lack of education and wildlife management policies, these conflicts often have a fatal outcome for elephants.
Illegal poaching includes poaching of ivory and skin, as well as, capturing of live young elephants. It is much more difficult to break the will of an adult elephant, and thus, patchers need to capture young elephants. Capturing and removing the young is a violent process, often leading to the death of many elephants in their family group. Once poachers have these calves, they may bind or torture them, until they comply with orders they are given. Depending on the industry they were captured for, these elephants will then live out a life of servitude, either dragging heavy logs for the logging industry or carrying unsuspecting tourists around on their backs.
What can we do?
The good news is that it's not too late! There are many organizations already working to save these amazing animals and protect their natural habitat so that future generations can flourish. Our goal at Project Life is to support these organizations in every way we can, through education, awareness, and donation. The only way we can save these majestic giants is by working together; by educating the local farmers about how to coexist with elephants; by banning the capture of elephants for logging and tourism; by ensuring tourists are aware of the detrimental effects of elephant riding; and by helping organizations support sick or injured animals, to release them back into the wild, or provide a safe place for them to thrive.
Our Conservation Partner
Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand's mission is to rescue and rehabilitate captive wild animals; providing high-quality care and a safe environment for them to live. If possible, release them back into the wild, repopulating forest areas in which they are already endangered or extinct.
Learn More: www.wfft.org