Conservation: Asian Elephants Trunk Full of Tales


Asian Elephant Conservation

Our main resource for compiling the following facts about poaching and the ivory trade was very graciously provided by the Wildlife Protection Society of India and uses the book A God In Distress for most of its facts. It parts we have taken whole copies of text so please refer to our reference for more information on the book.

The threat to the Asian Elephant ( Elephas maximus ) is grossly underestimated at the international level in relation to its African cousin, even though the Asian elephant species has a total population of only approximately 10% of the latter.

In India and in several other Asian countries, recent trends indicate that despite legislation, the elephant is under increasing pressure from poaching, which combined with the squeezing pressure from habitat loss and habitat alteration is creating a grim picture for the future survival of this species.

For basic information comparing the difference between the Asian Elephant and the African Elephant please go to the About Elephants Page.

Asian Elephant Sex DistributionIn 1994, investigations in southern India indicated that only five adult males were left in a population of about 1000 elephants in Periyar Tiger Reserve in the state of Kerala, one of the strongholds of elephants in the country. Of these, only 2 were tuskers, the other three being tuskless males (makhnas).

The Male 0.5% of the total population here is way below the 2-7% in some of the other areas in Southern India. A drastic reduction in fertility has already been seen in this population. This preferential decrease in the number of tuskers shows clearly the poaching pressures  for ivory on the Asian elephant. This is only symptomatic of a larger malaise that seems to be relatively widespread in southern India. During the last 20 years the proportion of sub-adult and adult tuskers in various populations have declined, some by as much as 75%. Added to this are the several instances of elephants poaching reports from Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and north-eastern India which corroborate the trend of a fresh poaching wave that is sweeping across the country.

With the recent "one time sale" of ivory from three South African Countries is further aggravating the situation for Asian elephant conservation efforts. For a brief and somewhat uncompleted story about CITES history in dealing with the elephant please visit the CITES History Page.


Please go to the following areas for extensive information on Asian Elephant Conservation Parameters and Discussion.

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