The Effect of Habitat Loss on Asian Elephants

    Asian elephants are affected by deforestation as well. Forest encroachment was shown to be prevalent in the habitats of 80% of Asian elephants (Rood et al., 2010). Additionally, over the period of one year there was a 2.41% loss in total forest coverage as deforestation for agriculture occurred (Rood et al., 2010). If rates of deforestation continue at their current rates elephants will be forced to migrate to an environment that may be less favorable to them and may contain more stresses. Hopefully, they will be able to adapt to these new territories because as their old habitats change, elephants must sink or swim. 
    Habitat fragmentation is a consequence of deforestation that is detrimental to Asian elephant's survival.Habitat fragmentation is the result of human land conversion. As elephants are forced to move into new habitats, elephant populations become fragmented because the size of the habitats becomes smaller and more isolated. Nearly one half (49%) of land inhabited by Asian elephants has become fragmented (Leimgruber et al., 2003). Elephants are able to sustain high populations best in unfragmented wild lands, they are also able to sustain large populations in areas with large human populations but not as reliably as in unfragmented wild lands. Severely fragmented wild lands, however, were far less likely to be able to support large elephant populations (Leimgruber et al., 2003). Fragmentation can also lead to inbreeding because smaller populations mean there are fewer potential mates. This can lead to less genetic diversity and make the already diminishing elephants more vulnerable because if a genetic disorder is introduced it can effect the entire regional population due to increased relatedness between individual elephants.