Deforestation and increased human use of land have degraded the habitat of the Asian elephant, resulting in a loss of 3.3 million square kilometers of land since the year 1700. This has caused a decline of over 64% in suitable habitat for the endangered species, which is found in 13 countries across Asia. Large-scale habitat loss has led to increased conflict between humans and elephants. In China, 94% of suitable elephant habitat has been lost, while India has lost 86%. More than half of the suitable elephant habitats in Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia’s Sumatra have also been lost.

The acceleration of elephant habitat loss happened at the same time as European colonization during the 1700s. This era saw the expansion of new ideas, financial impacts, and regulatory structures implemented by the government into the forests of Asia. Today, habitat loss has forced elephants to migrate from their usual territories, creating challenges for human communities that have little experience with the species. To ensure the survival of current elephant populations, it is recommended to replace the practice of driving them into ever-shrinking habitats with attempts to establish areas of suitable habitat. Proper planning can help avoid conflict between humans and elephants, while individuals, governments, and organizations can take action to protect the habitats of endangered species.