Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Endangered animals - Sumatran elephant

Sumatran elephants are the smallest of all Asian elephants. These elephants can be only found on Sumatra, and latest estimates say how there are only between 2200-2700 Sumatran elephants still living in a wild. The reasons why Sumatran elephants are extremely endangered is mostly because of habitat loss. Indonesia has major deforestation problem , and many forests in Indonesia have been turned to plantations which leaves these beautiful animals with very little space to live in. Not only that without forests there's not enough space for Sumatran elephants but also there is not enough food because Sumatran elephants are herbivores, and their diet mostly consists of of bananas, ginger, bamboo and leaves.

The less habitats Sumatran elephants have the more difficult is for them to survive. Less space means also more conflicts with humans which often results with elephant deaths by poisoning. And of course there is also the poaching problem. Sumatran elephants have very valuable tusks, and whole tusks can achieve price up to $3000, which is very large sum of money for many people in Indonesia. Tusks are even more valuable when you consider that only male Sumatran elephants grow tusks.

Sumatran elephants are mostly endangered due to habitat loss as the result of excessive deforestation in Indonesia

In latest poaching incident (first week of June 2009) one male Sumatran elephant was found dead in a pulp plantation in Riau province, Sumatra, and in the last three months six other Sumatran elephants were killed by poachers while two were found with no tusks. Without their tusks elephants are having difficulties getting enough food because they need tusks to pry bark and dig up roots. Poachers usually use poisoned fruit to kill these helpless animals.

How to save remaining Sumatran elephant population from going extinct? If current rates of deforestation continue in Indonesia I really can't see nothing that could prevent extinction of these beautiful animals. The more forests disappear in Indonesia the more elephants will be lost, because they need forests for food and shelter. With no food elephants are often driven to farms to find necessary food and as you can imagine farmers really don't love idea of elephants feeding on their crops which lead to frequent conflicts and many elephant deaths.

What would really be needed to solve this problem is some sort of solution that would ensure living space for both humans and elephants. One of the very important steps in achieving this was the founding of Tesso Nilo National Park in Riau in 2004, but this is still not enough because forests are still rapidly disappearing in Indonesia. And without stopping deforestation there's really no chance of stopping Sumatran elephant population decline.


  1. i love elephants and would never hurt them....this article rele opened my eyes!!

  2. These Asian Elephants are magnificent and should be protected at all costs. The forests that are their habitat should be preserved and protected to ensure their survival. Forests are being cut down and disappearing at a tremendous rate and this is shocking for the animals that live there and for our planet as well. There has to be some better solution to this so that humans and animals can co-exist and survive.