Conservation issues | WWF India

Conservation issues

Habitat loss and conflict with humans:
Steady inroads into elephant habitat to meet the needs of an increasing human population and economic development have resulted in significant loss and fragmentation of elephant habitat. Furthermore, anthropogenic pressures have also contributed to extreme degradation of large parts of the elephant habitat. Consequently, human-elephant conflicts are becoming increasingly common leading to death and injury of human beings and retaliatory killings of elephants. At present, this is amongst the biggest threats to the survival of Asian elephants in the wild. As the forest cover becomes fragmented and degraded, elephants raid plantations and crop fields in their quest for food or in the course of moving between forest patches. A single elephant can devastate a small farmer’s crop holding in one feeding raid, thereby bringing them in direct conflict with farmers living in and around elephant habitats.

Poaching:
Even where suitable habitat exists, poaching remains a threat to elephants. Since only males have tusks, poaching has resulted in highly skewed male-female sex ratio in many areas. Poaching for meat and other products like tail hair also pose threats to populations, especially in northeast India. In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international trade in ivory. However, there are still some thriving but unmonitored domestic ivory markets in a number of Asian and other countries which fuel the illegal international trade in ivory.

Other challenges:
Challenges on the ground include securing habitat and corridors, management of human-elephant conflict (HEC) and retaliatory killing of elephants, stopping poaching and reducing accidental deaths due to trains, electrocution and falls into deep pits, wells and trenches.
 
	© Anil Cherukupalli/WWF-India
Male elephant in musth-musth is a state where males are unusually agressive and is characterized by the discharge from the musth gland
© Anil Cherukupalli/WWF-India
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