The Asian Elephant

Environmental Science

September 20, 2004

The Asian Elephant is nomadic and roams over large areas, it has no standard habitat. Some are cool, shady places, forests and various grazing lands and there always has to be water nearby. South China, Nepal, India, Malaysia and Indonesia are some countries where the Asian Elephant can be found roaming. The Asian Elephant has 75 different plants to choose for its meal, such as bamboo, grass leaves, bark and shrubs of sorts. They need lots of cool water and they can eat at any time of the day. Asian Elephants consume 330 pounds of vegetation per day and have one huge meal every 24 hours.

At the turn of the century there were 300,000 elephants in Thailand, of which about 100,000 were domesticated. In the 60s, there were 40,000, of which about 11,000 were domesticated. Today in Thailand, there are 2000 wild, and about 3000 domesticated. Now there are 35,000 Asian Elephants total. This number is falling 2-5% a year for many reasons:

Humans use elephants in Asia to log forests, transport heavy loads and carry tourists. Elephants can walk in areas where machines are unable to navigate. About 15,000 Asian elephants are held in captivity as work animals. Elephants are important in Asian folklore and religion. They are believed to be cousins of the clouds and able to cause lightening. The loss of habitat is the primary threat to Asian elephants. Approximately 20% of the world\'s population lives in or near the range of Asian elephants. The homes of these elephants are being cleared for many reasons including warfare, agricultural development, human settlement, and logging. Asian elephants are less prone to poaching (killing elephants for ivory tusks) because few males (and no females) grow tusks. In China, the penalty for poaching is the death sentence. Conflicts between Asian elephants and humans often occur because of habitat destruction. Sometimes there is not enough food in small forests to sustain elephants, so they look for the nearest source.

The Friends of the Asian Elephant are a major organization that helps to protect this animal. Their main goals are to assist elephants to enjoy improved living conditions and eventually survive and adjust themselves within natural surroundings, to aid professionals related to elephants (raisers, researchers, vets etc.), to gather data on elephants, to publicize data and produce public reports on status of elephants and movements related there to, to undertake for a public cause or to collaborate with other charity organizations, and to deal in no way with political affiliations. The FAE is responsible for the world’s first elephant hospital, and a mobile veterinary project. Along with the help from the RFD (Royal Forestry Department) the FAE are working on the last home project.

Sarah of Lloyd H. Bugbee Elementary School. May 27, 2001. "Asian Elephant".

The Wild Ones Animal Index. 2000. “Asian Elephant”.

Friends of the Asian Elephant. 2003. “Foundation’s Main Objectives”.