How Many Elephants Are Left in the World?

Despite steep declines in elephant numbers, there are still reasons to hope that these magnificent creatures can be saved.

World Wildlife Magazine reports that there were about ten million African elephants and 100,000 Asian elephants a hundred years ago. In the last century, their numbers have plummeted, and their survival is threatened. There are approximately 400,000 elephants left in the world today. Discover how smart elephants really are.

With an average weight of six tons, African elephants are the world’s largest land animals. The Congo Basin and the coastal regions of Eastern Africa are home to African elephants. In addition to the Eastern Himalayas, Asian elephants can also be found in Thailand, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The ivory tusks, skin, and other body parts of both species are threatened by poachers seeking to sell them. They are also threatened by capture for the tourism industry, as well as habitat loss due to deforestation.

IUCN Red List classifies African elephants as vulnerable to extinction, while Asian elephants are endangered. The African elephant population is slowly rebounding thanks to conservation efforts. Asian elephants are still in decline; one type of Asian elephant is on the list of 14 species that may disappear within your lifetime.

In order to survive, elephants require a lot of land and resources, and this often puts them at odds with local human populations. Between 50 and 120 elephants are killed each year by farmers and wildlife rangers in Kenya. To prevent elephants from eating crops, the World Wildlife Fund encourages non-lethal methods like “chili bombs” – a combination of chili and dung. Furthermore, the locals are learning methods of farming that help keep elephants at bay and planting crops that require less land.

You can still help save these precious creatures even if you can’t get to the Congo or India yourself. Funds can be donated to local rangers if you “adopt” an elephant. Check out 13 more endangered species you didn’t know were endangered, including the cheetah, if elephant numbers were lower than you thought. 

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