Asian elephant populations are down by 50%
Asian elephants inhabit the forested regions of India and Southeast Asia. They are slightly smaller than their African cousins, most notable in the size of their ears. They are classified as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). According to National Geographic, over the past 75 years, the Asian elephant population has declined by an estimated 50%. There are only an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.
Threats to wild Asian elephant populations include deforestation and habitat loss, as well as a direct conflict with humans. Large industrial and agricultural developments and expanding human communities have severely damaged elephant habitats. Rapidly disappearing habitat has lead to an increase of human-elephant conflict. Elephants raid crops and villages in search of food, often resulting in losses to both human property and lives. Retaliation by villagers often leads to the killing of elephants.