Asian elephants are an endangered species. Their numbers sit somewhere between 39,000 – 44,000 spread across the vast continent – though almost half are located in India.
Why are their numbers becoming so desperate? Well, it’s not due to poaching. At least not to the same degree that it threatens their larger African cousins. Male Asian elephants are largely, though not entirely, tuskless.
It is, however, coming from the same source: humans.
Elephants require large territories containing adequate food and water resources in order to maintain their numbers. Humans need land and natural resources too – and with rising populations in India and Southeast Asia, a conflict between humankind and the elephant was arguably inevitable.
Despite being revered as both a cultural and religious symbol in Asia, elephants are considered a danger and a pest in areas of agriculture. This reality has given rise to what is known as Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC), a phenomenon that is resulting in somewhere between 400-500 elephant deaths each year. Elephants being the largest land mammals on the planet and extremely intelligent – the danger posed to human life is also manifest.
But must we continue down this dark path to the possible extinction of one of the world’s most majestic and breath-taking beasts? At SOAS, we certainly don’t think so.
What can be done about it?
Diplomacy’s express purpose is to address conflict and SOAS’s Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy is a leader in the field.
A new PhD opportunity has been created for an eager and qualified individual to work in this fascinating and crucial area of scientific research. The PhD: Global Studies programme is a multi-disciplinary area of study that engages with pressing issues of our time.
How to apply