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Why are Asian Elephants Endangered? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

When thinking of elephants, most people think of the ones in Africa; however, there are also elephants on the continent of Asia. Unfortunately, these elephants are endangered, and we'll learn why in this lesson.

Asian Elephants

Teacher: 'Where would you find an elephant?'

Student: 'You don't have to find them. They're too big to lose!'

Obviously, you couldn't misplace an elephant in your room like you would an action figure; however, our world is dangerously close to losing the Asian elephant.

Asian elephants live on the continent of Asia. They are dark gray or brown and can weigh up to five tons. That's the size of two large cars!


Asian elephant
elephant


Asian elephants are endangered, which means they are in danger of becoming extinct and not existing on Earth anymore. A little over 100 years ago, it was estimated that there were 100,000 Asian elephants. There are now less than one half of that number (50,000) of Asian elephants.

Asian elephants used to move all over the Asian continent. Now, they live in just 15% of their historic, original area. Imagine having to stay in your bedroom and never being allowed to go to any other room in the house. Crazy, right?

If humans aren't careful, the Asian elephant will be lost for good. But, why are Asian elephants endangered? Let's find out!

Habitat Destruction

Imagine that one day a bulldozer pulled up to your house and demolished it. What would you do? Where would you go? Believe it or not, this is exactly what happens to Asian elephants all the time.

Habitat destruction is a major reason why Asian elephants are endangered. It occurs when an animal's habitat is destroyed and the animal can no longer live there. In Asia, the elephant's habitat is being destroyed by humans to make roads, clear land for farming and houses, and construct dams and mines. When elephants' habitats are destroyed, they have nowhere to live or eat.

Living Near Humans

As people build houses and farms close to elephant habitats, people and elephants end up having more encounters. Elephants may damage farmers' crops or could even hurt people if they get too close. Because of this, farmers often end up killing elephants, so their crops or families are not hurt. To help curb this, many countries in Asia now give farmers money for their crops if they are damaged by elephants.

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