Why are Asian elephants endangered??

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  • inatuk
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Causes of Endangerment

    Habitat Loss :

    Elephants need a large amount of habitat because they eat so

    much. Humans have become their direct competitors for living space. Human populations in Africa and Asia have quadrupled since the turn of the century, the fastest growth rate on the planet. Forest and savanna habitat has been converted to cropland, pastureland for livestock, and timber for housing and fuel.

    Humans do not regard elephants as good neighbors. When humans and elephants live close together, elephants raid crops, and rogue elephants (aggressive male elephants during the breeding season) rampage through villages. Local people shoot elephants because they fear them and regard them as pests. Some countries have established culling programs: park officials or hunters kill a predetermined number of elephants to keep herds manageable and minimize human-elephant conflicts.

    Overexploitation :

    Hunting has been a major cause of the decline in elephant populations. Elephants became prized trophies for big-game hunters after Europeans arrived in Africa. More recently, and more devastatingly, hunters have slaughtered elephants for their ivory tusks. The ivory trade became a serious threat to elephants in the 1970s. A sudden oil shortage caused the world economy to collapse, and ivory became more valuable than gold. In fact, ivory has been called "white gold" because it is beautiful, easily carved, durable, and pleasing to the touch. Most of the world's ivory is carved in Japan, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries, where skilled carvers depend on a supply of ivory for their livelihoods.

    Hunting elephants is no longer legal in many African countries, but poaching was widespread until very recently. For many the high price of ivory, about $100 a pound in the 1980s, was too tempting to resist. Local people often had few other ways to make a living, and subsistence farmers or herders could make more by selling the tusks of one elephant than they could make in a dozen years of farming or herding.

    As the price of ivory soared, poachers became more organized, using automatic weapons, motorized vehicles, and airplanes to chase and kill thousands of elephants. To governments and revolutionaries mired in civil wars and strapped for cash, poaching ivory became a way to pay for more firearms and supplies.

    Poaching has caused the collapse of elephants' social structure as well as decimating their numbers. Poachers target the biggest elephants because their tusks are larger. They often kill all the adults in the group, leaving young elephants without any adults to teach them migration routes, dry-season water sources, and other learned behavior. Many of Africa's remaining elephant groups are leaderless subadults and juveniles.

    Conservation Actions

    Protected Areas :

    There are many national parks or reserves in Africa where elephant habitat is protected. Many people believe, however, that the parks are not large enough and are too isolated from each other to allow elephant populations to recover. (See Island Biogeography.) Some countries are developing refuges linked by corridors to allow seasonal migration and genetic exchange. Human use of the same land to grow crops, however, makes it difficult to create linkages between reserves without increasing conflicts between humans and elephants.

    Sometimes reserves are too successful. When there are too many elephants in a reserve for the available vegetation, they destroy the habitat. They also forage outside the park and destroy crops.

    Ecotourism :

    One factor that has convinced African governments to take strong measures to protect elephants is the rising importance of the tourist trade to their economies. Kenya alone receives $50 million a year from tourists coming to see elephants. The national parks bring in much-needed income, and tourism is a source of income that can continue into the future because it does not deplete wildlife populations.

    Trade Prohibition :

    Worldwide concern over the decline of the elephant led to a complete ban on the ivory trade in 1990. Elephants have been placed on Appendix I of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which means all trade in elephant parts is prohibited. Some governments have cracked down hard on poachers. In some countries, park rangers are told to shoot poachers on sight.

    Not all governments support the ivory ban. In Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana, for example, people farm elephants on ranches for trophy hunters. Government officials argue that trade in ivory should be regulated, not prohibited. They say countries that are managing their elephants well should be allowed to sell ivory in order to pay for conservation measures, such as park guards and equipment. Others argue that the only effective solution is a total ban, because there is no way to distinguish ivory of elephants that were legally killed from that of elephants that were poached. The debate over the effectiveness, fairness, and wisdom of the ivory ban continues.

    Asian ivory craftspeople are turning to other sources of raw material for their carvings. Some are turning to walrus tusks instead of elephant ivory, shifting hunting pressure to walruses.

    Captive Breeding

    Captive breeding of African elephants provides elephants for zoos so zoos do not have to take more elephants from the wild for display. The Jacksonville Zoological Park [Z&A] has established a Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the African elephant.

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  • 1 decade ago

    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 which is usually the field of a local farmer.

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  • J.D.S.
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    One reason I know of is the ivory trade. I once saw a documentary many years ago and a scene where there was a pile of tusks more than ten feet high being burned by the authorities.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Asian elephants are endangered because the people who kill them either kill them for their meat, their skin to make things or for their ivory tusks which could make them rich

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  • 1 decade ago

    They are being constantly killed for the ivory teeth also they are killed for the skin. This is resulting in the decreament of elephants in india.

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  • vim
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Because man covets the Ivory of their husks. Thus, poachers, which make more money than they could with anything else available to them, and the irresponsible ones who purchase it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    poachers hunt and kill Asian Elephants for their tusks

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  • 1 decade ago

    they are endangerd because their tusks are made of ivory,and poaches take the tusks and turn them into ivory appliences.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Poachers as well as destruction of their environment

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  • 1 decade ago

    because lots of poachers wanted their tusks.

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