The elephant has been on Earth for over 50 million years. It is the largest living land mammal. There are estimated to be about 500,000 left with popluations spread throughout Africa and Asia. To satisfy their massive appetite, elephants keep on the move looking for food and water. This means they often come into contact with a growing human population which can lead to conflict.
The single biggest threat to the elephant is the illegal trade in ivory. In 2012, 35,000 African elephants were killed to fuel demand from the Far East for ivory - the long dentine tusks that elephants use to help them browse for food and care for their young.The trade in ivory has been illegal since 1989 but as demand rises so does poaching. The ivory is carved into ornaments and trinkets, the rest of the elephant is left where it fell or used for bush meat. There are an increasing number of orphaned elephants as a result.