1. Title:Asian Elephant-Elephas Maximus 2. Purpose: To learn how and why the Asian Elephant got on the endangered species list. Elephants are one of the largest land mammals in the world and they have been targets to man and other animals. 3. Background: My overall background the Asian Elephant is very limited. I know that they come from Asian and many were hunter for their tusks. You can find a few Asian Elephants at the local zoos and there is always controversy on elephants and the circus. There have laws put in place to make it illegal to hunt elephants for their skin and their tusks but I don’t know how strict that law.
I know some hunters who have a license to hunt in Asian and he has trophies of lions, zebras, hippos and even elephants. Elephants are herbivores and they don’t seem like aggressive animals. 4. Hypothesis: I think the main reason why the Asian Elephant has become endangered is because man use to hunt them like crazy for their tusks and their skin. Ivory was huge back in the day and many elephants and many died in vicious attacks for it. Also I would have to say a lot of elephants were also captured for the purpose of circuses and slave labor.
Of course I could be wrong about the slave labor thing because I got that from the movies. 5. Data: The Asian Elephant are found in Asia in and around tropical rainforests, forest, grasslands areas, and scrub. ( 1) They are one of the largest land mammal to walk the earth and they are on the verge of extinction. The Asian Elephants are known to have smaller tusks than the African Elephants and d their heads are very big with large lumps on them. The Asian Elephants have been used over 4,000 years as tamed animals in the time of war and peace in the Asian countries.
A lot of people have looked at these creatures as gods or some type of royalty because they are so huge and sweet. Plus they are more likely to be recruited in the circus than their fellow elephant the African Elephant. Figure 1 shows the Asian Elephants in their environment. The environment has been changing for the Asian Elephants, [pic] Figure 1: A family of Asian Elephants so they once were commonly found in India but now they have been spotted in Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal and even in South China. 3) The biggest reason why these elephants are spread out through Asia now is because man has interrupted the land they use to live on. With farms, ranches popping up and land being cleared, many Asia Elephants are forced to travel to new parts to survive or die. Asian Elephants are in direct competition with humans the right to live on the land. This is the biggest reason why the Asian Elephants are now on the Endangered Species List and why they cannot get off it. Besides their habitat being destroyed, the other main reasons why the Asian Elephants are on the endangered species list because of poaching for their tusks.
Compare to the African Elephants, the Asian Elephants tusks are much smaller so they tend not to be poached as much but ivory poaching was very huge in the 80’s either way. At the turn of the century the population of the Asian Elephants were near 100,000 but today there are less then 50,000 left both in the wild and in captivity. (4) As they travel to new parts of Asia they become targets again because of the ivory they have in their tusks. By 1989 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) imposed a law prohibiting poaching.
Unfortunely, the Asian Elephants today are still poached for their skin and tusks. When the elephants are on the move to a new location they are not just looking for plenty of food and water but they are looking for less human activity. A place with yummy plants, shrubs and fruits would the perfect place for the Asian Elephant hang out as long as humans are not around. Hunters love hunting the elephants because of how big they are. Its pretty hard blend into the surrounds when you’re reaching 10 feet tall and over 10,000 pounds, which is why it was easy to kill the elephants.
Poachers sell the ivory from the elephant’s tusks so people could make jewelry, piano keys, and anything else that would bring in money. At Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, the breeding program is very successful. They have over four female Asian Elephants pregnant. (9) The world has taken note that the Asian Elephant is on the verge of extinction and are in the mist of saving of the world’s biggest species. There are over 15,000 Asian Elephants in captivity right now. The National Zoo Elephant Reproduction Project (NZERP)is another recovery project that is up to help repopulate the Asian Elephants.
Even though there are over 15,000 Asian Elephants in captivity, they are rarely breeding or not breeding at all. In many ways there is no reason to keep these creatures in captivity if they are not breeding. The NZERP is very concerned with the fact that elephants are not reproducing at a rate that is needed. They predict that in 50 years there will be no elephants in zoos because they would have all die off and there will be no offspring to carrier on. (5) The NZERP deals with artificial insemination with the Asian Elephants. They feel artificial insemination is the key answer to help repopulate this endangered species.
Many organizations are trying desperately to save the Elephas maximus and one of recovery plans put in place is the Asian Rhinos and Elephants Action Strategy (AREAS). The only way to protect these two species from certain extinction is by protecting huge areas of land for them to live in. Asian Elephants requires a lot of room to roam and play and with mankind taking over their precious land they need an area that is untouched. By doing this the AREAS is not only protecting the rhinos and elephants but also the creatures and the ecosystem that depends on these keystone species to survive.
Figure 2 shows both the Asian Rhino and the Asian Elephant on protected land. (8) A lot of recovery programs are aimed find a solution to the problem but there is a group called Golden Triangle Asian Elephant foundation (GTAEF) that puts its efforts towards rescuing the elephants that seemed abandon or lost off the streets of Thailand. Even though there are a few recovery plans in plans and they all have made a small impact yet none are really making the difference that is needed for this species to survive. [pic] Figure 2: An Asian Rhino and Asian Elephant on a protected land. Elephants in general are considered to be a keystone species.
They have a huge impact on the ecosystem that they live in. According to Bagheera website, even the droppings that elephants leave behind are important ecosystem to survive. Elephants are very strong and they can take out several trees with their trunks, dig waterholes, and make trails in the forest. Many animals depend on the elephants for survival. Without these magnificent creatures many countries would suffer and the effect would be catastrophic worldwide. An example of how other species benefit would be the waterholes the elephants dig. In many cases that water hole is the only water source for those creatures, without it they would die.
Without the Asian Elephants working their magic on their environment, there could be more animals and plants that could end up on the endanger species list or extinct. 6. Analysis/Evaluation: There are two types of elephant species which are the Asian Elephants and the African Elephant. Asian Elephants are much easy to tame and train. This species loves to roam, eat plants and fruit, and even loves to hide in the woods for protection but they cannot do any of that when they are being hunted, poisoned, trapped, and being pushed into extinction.
I always thought they were only found in the jungle, so it was very surprising to learn that they can found in the rainforest. There are many programs and laws in place to conserve and repopulate this species but the recovery is just too slow to really make any true head way. The chances of the Asian Elephants coming off the Endangered Species List will only come when there is a true realization of the domino effect that will be caused with their extinction. I just don’t think the majority of people really take the death of the Elephas maximus seriously enough.
One of the most interesting things about the Asian Elephants is that they have very strong family ties. They feel the same way humans do like crying, laughing, missing someone when they are gone, and even jealousy. Have you ever heard an elephant cry? They are considered to be the largest land mammal in the world (African Elephants the larges and Asian the second largest) and know that they cry is so sad because when a separation or a lost from their herd it hurts them the same way it hurts us. Elephants are known use they own language when communicating with each other in a herd.
Other interesting fact is that baby elephants are called calves and the big elephants are called bulls. Figure 3 shows the bull and calf bonding. (10) [pic] Figure 3: Cute Asian Elephant family. 7. Revision of Hypothesis: I originally thought that the Asian Elephants were becoming extinct because people were poaching them for their tusks. Poaching was defiantly a problem and helped lower the number of Asian Elephants in this world but the main reason they are going extinct is because humans have almost completely invaded their land.
I was correct on saying that they were captured and forced into war and the circus but I didn’t know it was because they were so easily to be trained. Also I didn’t know that people in Asia considered the Asian Elephant’s gods. I wasn’t a fan of the Asheboro Zoo in North Carolina because when are near the elephants area, they are so far away because of the huge amount of land they were provided. I just wanted to see them close up like other zoos but after learning about them, I have a new appreciation for the Asheboro Zoo. I think more zoos should follow suite. 8. Reference: 1.
Animals explore discover connect. Asian Elephant. http://www. seaworld. org/Animal%2Dinfo/animal%2Dbytes/animalia/eumetazoa/coelomates/deuterostomes/chordata/craniata/mammalia/proboscidea/asian-elephant. htm 2. Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Asian Elephants. http://nationalzoo. si. edu/Animals/AsianElephants/factasianelephant. cfm 3. WWF. Asian Elephants. http://www. worldwildlife. org/elephants/subspecies/subspecies_ase. cfm 4. Asian elephants in serious decline: WWF. December 18, 2000. http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0WDP/is_2000_Dec_18/ai_68640982 5. Elephant Reproduction Project.
Meeting the Challenge of Conserving Endangered Species. Smithsonian National Zoological Park. http://nationalzoo. si. edu/ConservationAndScience/ReproductiveScience/ElephantBreedRepro/ 6. Santiapillai, Charles. Jackson, Peter. The Asian Elephant An Action Plan for its Conservation. http://books. google. com/books? hl=en&id=8QcZYzXZJQMC&dq=action+plan+for+conservation+of+asian+elephants&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=NoakUlN–M&sig=-0R5tnv-fBlm0yGBXrdTNaZBbxQ#PPP1,M1 7. Vanishing in the wild: The Elephants. Bagheera. http://bagheera. com/inthewild/van_anim_elephant. htm 8. AREAS: Asian Rhino