According to 2017’s Great Elephant Census, there are, “352,271 African savanna elephants in 18 countries, down 30% in seven years.”
The BBC reports, “There are around 40,000-50,000 elephants left in Asia, and like African elephants they are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. The number of Asian elephants has declined by at least 50% in the last three generations. … on 1 January 2018, China banned domestic ivory trade – a historic move shutting down the world’s biggest legal ivory market. A number of other countries, including the UK and Thailand, have also begun taking steps to try and ban the sale of ivory.”
However, while other wild elephants population in the world are down, China is the only country where numbers are on the rise, but don’t celebrate yet. There are only 200 – 250 wild elephants in China.
“In the past 20 years, the number of Asian elephants in southwest China’s Yunnan Province has more than doubled when elephant populations all over the world are decreasing and under threat. China’s conservation efforts are seen as an international wildlife and environmental success story.”
Eleaid.com says, “China’s elephants are only found in the extreme south of the Yunnan province, bordering Burma and Laos. Their range includes Xishuangbanna (XSNB) and the Nangunhe Nature Reserves.
“The elephant is a protected species in China and the government has taken steps to conserve areas of elephant habitat including moving people out of the reserves in a bid to minimize human-elephant conflict.
“Chinese officials have reported that the population is growing through both reproduction and immigration of herds from Laos. This is attributable to the lack of a threat from poachers in China and the abundant availability of fodder. …”
The existence of elephants in ancient China appears in both archaeological evidence and in Chinese artwork. Long thought to belong to an extinct subspecies of Asian elephants, … they lived in Central and Southern China before the 14th century BC, more than 3,000 years ago. Elephants ranged as far north as Anyang, Henan in northern China.
Today, tourists may see wild elephants in Gajah Liar Valley. “There are wooden houses built in tall trees that offer a safe place to watch. — China Travel.com
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.