Sumatran Elephant

OVERVIEW

The Sumatran elephant is a sub-species of Asian elephantwhich includes the Indian elephant, the Sumatran elephant, the Sri-Lanka elephant and the Borneo elephant. The Sumatran elephant is extremely rare today, with estimates in 2000 putting Sumatran elephant numbers at just over 2,000 individuals.
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As its name suggests, the Sumatran elephant is found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. However, the Sumatran elephant population has severely declined as they have lost more than 80% of their natural habitat to deforestation for palm oil plantations.

The Sumatran elephant has smaller ears than the African elephant and the Sumatran elephantalso has a more curved spine than the African elephant. Unlike the African elephants, the female Sumatran elephants very rarely have tusks, and if the female Sumatran elephant does have tusks, they are generally barely visible and can only be seen when the female Sumatranelephant opens her mouth.

WHY THEY MATTER

Sumatran elephants feed on a variety of plants and deposit seeds wherever they go, contributing to a healthy forest ecosystem.

THREATS

DEFORESTATION AND HABITAT LOSS

In 2012, the Sumatran elephant was changed from “Endangered” to “Critically Endangered” because half of its population has been lost in one generation—a decline that is largely due to habitat loss and as a result human-elephant conflict. Sumatra has experienced one of the highest rates of deforestation within the Asian elephant’s range, which has resulted in local extinctions of elephants in many areas. Over two-thirds of its natural lowland forest has been razed in the past 25 years and nearly 70 percent of the Sumatran elephant’s habitat has been destroyed in one generation.

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HUMAN-ELEPHANT CONFLICT

As a result of the rapid development and deforestation in Sumatra, elephants often come into contact with human settlements. They raid crops, trample homes and sometimes even hurt or kill people. Those affected sometimes retaliate and poison or shoot elephants.

Today

Today, the Sumatran elephant is considered to be an animal that is in immediate danger of becoming extinct due to the fact that Sumatran elephant populations have been declining at a critical rate. Sumatran elephants are thought to be suffering primarily due to habitat loss in the form of deforestation and hunting for their ivory tusks by human poachers.
WWF- Borneo and Sumatra - Flying Squad 3