Elephant Population Status
Population estimates of Asian elephants: 41,410 - 52,345 animals
By comparison, African elephants estimated at 600,000.
Estimated population sizes by region:
- Southern India 10,500 - 14,500
- All of India 25,000
- Myanmar: 4000-5000
- Thailand: 3000-3700 (declining)
- Sri Lanka: 3000 +
- Indonesia's Sumatra: 3000+ (declining)
- Peninsular Malaysia: 1250-1466 (stable) and 1100-1600
- Borneo: 1000
- Laos: 780-1200
- Bhutan: 400-600
- Cambodia: 250-600
- China (only southern Yunan): 200-250
- Bangladesh: 196-227
- Nepal: 100-170
- Vietnam: 76-94
- Overall, populations believed to be decreasing.
Asian elephants is no more than a crude guess, which has been accepted unchanged for a quarter of a century. They argue that with very few exceptions all we really know about the status of Asian elephants is the location of some (probably most) populations, with in some cases a crude idea of relative abundance; and for some large parts of the species range we do not even know where the populations are, or indeed if they are still extant.
These difference of opinion are due in part to the difficulty in counting elephants in dense vegeta-tion in difficult terrain, different survey techniques being used in different places, and a too-widely held belief that population monitoring is unimportant. Nevertheless, whatever the error margins, it appears almost certain that over 50% of the remaining wild Asian elephants occur in India.
The overall population trend of the Asian elephant has been downwards, probably for centuries. This remains the case in most parts of its range, but especially in most of the countries of South-east Asia. Within India, there is evidence that the large population in the Western Ghats in south of the country has been increasing in recent years due to improved conservation effectiveness.