Species name: Asian elephant
Nominated by: Elephant Family
IUCN Red List classification: Endangered
What is so special about your species?
The largest living land mammals – elephants – are intelligent, social and vital to their ecosystems. For thousands of years they have helped shape and protect their landscapes and the species they live alongside. Capable of immense strength and extraordinary empathy they live in complex social groups led by a matriarch. Sadly, the Asian elephant is a forgotten species that does not enjoy the same public profile and support as its larger African cousin.
What are the threats to this species in the wild?
Over the last 100 years, Asian elephant populations have plummeted by 90% leaving around 50, 000 struggling to survive in fragmented landscapes across thirteen range countries. As human populations grow, elephant habitat is shrinking at a rapid pace leading to increasingly fierce competition between people and elephants for living space and food which can lead to conflict, often with fatal consequences for both sides.
Along with the depletion and fragmentation of habitat and ivory poaching, a new threat – the illegal trade in elephant skin – is emerging.
What can people do to help your species?
Since 2002 Elephant Family has funded over 160 conservation projects to help protect this endangered animal. Partnering with Asia’s most ambitious and determined conservationists we are reconnecting forest fragments, preventing human-elephant conflict and fighting wildlife crime.
You can help by voting for the Asian elephant to raise awareness of its plight or donate to fund our critical conservation work at www.elephant-family.org.