Elephants have always held a special fascination by people young and old. Children love seeing them in the circus and when they are given a chance to ride one, that is something they will never forget all the days of their lives. But, have you ever wondered why elephants are so fascinating other than their sheer enormity? If you have a lifelong interest in elephants, there really are few places left on earth where you can actually still see them in their natural habitat. Wouldn’t you like to see them in as close a setting as possible while you still have the chance?
Whether elephants are fascinating to you or not, there is one thing which should interest you and that is the fact that these amazing creatures are now at, or near, the top of most of the world’s endangered species lists. Consider African elephants for a moment. In the 1930s, there were more than 10 million of them roaming freely over the African continent. Today, there are fewer than 1.3 million and that number is dwindling exponentially. Asian elephants were always fewer than their African counterparts and since 1989, their numbers have dwindled from approximately 200,000 to less than 40,000. That’s why the time is now! They verge on becoming extinct.
What Is Happening to Elephant Populations?
Actually, there are two main reasons why elephants have become an endangered species. The first is due to the loss of their native habitats to human populations. As the world’s population continues to grow, humans are taking over lands which were once only populated by animals in their natural element. Elephants in Asia and Africa have been driven far from the habitats they can easily survive in. Then there is the fact that those massive tusks have been sought after for their value as ivory. Not only are elephants being driven from their homes but they are hunted for the retail value of their ivory tusks.
The Best Places to See Elephants Today
Yes, you can still see elephants in traveling circuses and kids can still jump up for a ride alongside the elephant trainer at those venues. But that’s not seeing these majestic creatures in their natural element. If you really want to appreciate the gravity of the situation, it’s time to take a trip to Southeast Asia. In northern Thailand, you can visit the Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai, where an elephant sanctuary was established just a few years ago in 2014. As a joint initiative between the Chiang Mai people and the Karen Hill Tribe in Thailand, the sanctuary was established to try to further allay their extinction. Visitors can see them in their natural habitat, where it is the hope that more and more people will join in the effort to save them. With global warming, population shifts, and elephant hunters still roaming the earth, elephants are in danger of extinction unless something is done now. If you really want to see these amazing creatures in their own natural elements, it’s time to take that trip. No one knows what tomorrow may bring.