Asian Elephant Endangerment

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Asian Elephant Endangerment What can be done to prevent the extinction of the endangered Asian Elephant - Elephas Maximus? Introduction Elephants are the largest land mammals, however, the Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus), is slightly smaller than its the African elephant and is can be distinguished by its smaller, rounded ears. The Asian Elephant is a beautiful and intelligent creature found in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia. The large mammal radiates heat from its ears to help keep it cool but often this isn’t enough so they cool off in springs using their multi-functional trunks to spray water over themselves. 1 Asian Elephants live in grassy areas near or in forests. Herds are made up of related females with the eldest leading the herd, called the matriarch. The herds help to protect newborns as they are preyed upon by tigers. Males leave the herds when they reach adolescence and form smaller herds with others their age until they leave to live as solitary bulls, they only approach females during the breeding season. Despite this, the adult Asian Elephant has no natural predators; it is still highly endangered with only about 35,000 to 40,000 estimated to be left in the wild. 1 The main issue for these creatures is human conflict. Firstly their habitats are being destroyed as mass deforestation takes place in order to make money and provide areas for settlements. This causes problems as the elephants often wonder into villages as they are so close due to their increasingly small habitat areas. This creates tension with the locals because the elephants usually trample crops and other things in their path so they are seen as a nuisance. It has caused such a problem in some areas that... ... middle of paper ... ...t they are too small to make a significant difference. The projects have been taken on with much enthusiasm and so far activities include: mushroom farming, sewing, fruit drying, rubbish recycling, herbal nurseries for traditional remedies and indigenous tree nurseries. This is a good solution as the villagers can stay where they are so expensive incentives aren’t needed to convince them to move. Figure 8 demonstrates the forests without the initiatives.6 Finally there is the most controversial view: do nothing. Whilst some believe we have a duty to protect all the beautiful creatures on our planet, others say we should simply let nature take its course and that, if the elephants can’t adapt, Mother Nature dictates that they will not survive. However this view has lots of opposition as elephants are such an important part of the ecosystem, being a keystone species.

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