SPECIES:  Sumatran Elephant

CURRENT RANGE:  The Indonesian island of Sumatra

CURRENT THREATS:  Habitat loss, fragmentation, human conflict

CONSERVATION STATUS:  Critically Endangered

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM:  Tesso Nilo National Park, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Indonesia’s Safari Zoo


WHAT IS IT?   One of three subspecies of the Asian elephant, the Sumatran Elephant is found only in the Western Indonesian island of Sumatra. Generally smaller than African elephants, the Sumatran subspecies typically reaches a shoulder height of 6.6 to 10.5 feet, weighs between 4,400 and 8,800 pounds and can live up to 70 years in captivity. Females are usually smaller than males, with tiny tusks or no tusks at all, and the male tusks are not as long as those of other elephant species. But all of them are tallest at their heads, and have a finger-like shape to the tip of their trunk that they use to feed on a variety of vegetation, from bananas and ginger to bamboo and various vines.


WHY ARE THEY ENDANGERED?   To put it bluntly, humans. The Sumatran elephant was once widespread on the Indonesian island, with Riau Province alone estimated to have over 1,600 back in the 1980s. But by 2008 these majestic creatures had become extinct in 23 of their 43 ranges, with the Riau population down to a mere 350 elephants. Some estimates suggest that over 80% of the elephants’ former forest habitat has been turned into plantations, which displaces populations and forces them to live closer to human habitat. As a result, death by poisoning is becoming increasingly frequent as farmers fight to protect their cultivated fields.


WHAT’S BEING DONE TO SAVE THEM?   In 1986 Indonesia began establishing Elephant Training Centers designed to capture and train elephants for logging and tourism purposes, which now hold approximately 400 elephants. But their safest haven is Riau’s Tesso Nilo National Park, which contains one of the last vestiges of Sumatran forest large enough to support a viable population of elephants (it also features a population of similarly endangered Sumatran tigers). But the forest is under extreme pressure, as Sumatra has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation, losing around 30 million acres of forests (nearly 50%) since the mid-80s. It will take unprecedented cooperation between the Indonesian government and environmental organizations such as World Wildlife Fund to bring the Sumatran Elephant back from the brink of extinction. –Bret Love


If you enjoyed our story on the Sumatran Elephants, you might also like: 



26 Weird Animals Around the World

22 Responses to ENDANGERED SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: Sumatran Elephant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Check out our NEW Fair Trade Boutique!

Fair Trade Boutique
Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

Help Support Green Global Travel!

Each time you make a purchase on Amazon.com using the link below, we'll earn a small percentage, at no extra cost to you.


Follow Us

As Seen In:

Destinations We’ve Covered:

Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar- Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities


Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
FL- Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba