The Asian elephants' forest homes are being ravaged today due to commercial demand for forest derived products such as coffee, tea, rubber ,palm oil and hardwoods. Crop cultivation, mining for iron ore, and flooding by hydroelectric projects have also acted to diminish the large tracts of land required by elephants for adequate food supplies.
The habitat of the Asian elephant is the forests, adjoining grasslands, and scrub in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and Sumatra.
In 2017, Sumatran elephants are critically endangered, having lost more than half of their population in just 25 years. Habitat destruction and fragmentation for the harvesting of palm oil for processed foodstuffs is the biggest contributing factor.
Half the world's elephants were killed by poachers in a single decade. Only about 35,000 - 40,000 Asian elephants survive today throughout a discontinuous range in south east Asia. These have been hemmed in by human populations and suffer harassment, death and injury in their conflicts with people.