ACTA THERIOLOGICA SINICA ›› 2023, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (5): 593-607.DOI: 10.16829/j.slxb.150768

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Population dynamics of wild Asian elephants over the past fifty years

TANG Yongjing, YANG Cong, YANG Zicheng, CHEN Fei   

  1. Southwest Survey and Planning Institute of National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Asian Elephant Research Center of National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Kunming 650000, China
  • Received:2022-12-20 Revised:2023-07-31 Online:2023-09-30 Published:2023-09-22


汤永晶, 杨聪, 杨子诚, 陈飞   

  1. 国家林业和草原局西南调查规划院, 国家林业和草原局亚洲象研究中心, 昆明 650000
  • 通讯作者: 陈飞,
  • 作者简介:汤永晶(1995-),女,助理工程师,主要从事亚洲象保护研究.
  • 基金资助:

Abstract: The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the flagship species of tropical forest ecosystems in Asia and plays an important role in increasing species richness and maintaining ecosystem services. Affected by habitat loss and degradation, illegal poaching, and human-elephant conflict, the distribution and population size of the world’s wild Asian elephants have declined significantly compared to the past. In order to explore the distribution, population changes, and current conservation needs of wild Asian elephants, this paper reviews the research on the historical distribution, population dynamics, threat factors, traditional culture, laws and regulations, and conservation action plans of Asian elephants in South and Southeast Asia and China over the past 50 years, and draws the following conclusions: (1) In the past 50 years, the global wild Asian elephant population has shown an early trend of decline and then growth, followed by a continued decline between 1970 - 2000 and gradually increased between 2000 - 2010, and slow growth since 2010. (2) South Asia is an important area for stabilizing the global wild Asian elephant population, mainly due to timely legislative protection, strong traditional culture protection and other factors. The continuous decline of Asian elephant populations in Southeast Asia is mainly affected by deforestation and illegal poaching. The large-scale loss of forest habitat is the main reason for its continuous decline in Indonesia, Borneo, and other regions. The main reasons for the decline in Myanmar and Thailand are illegal poaching and smuggling. (3) The existing habitats in South Asia are relatively concentrated, there are more fragmented habitats in Southeast Asia, and Myanmar has more potential distribution areas. (4) At present, the main threats to wild Asian elephants are habitat loss and degradation, poaching and illegal trade, and human-elephant conflicts. In addition, problems associated with infrastructure construction, cross-border difficulties, and isolated populations cannot be ignored. Scientific and reasonable protection measures should be formulated taking into account the local challenges faced by Asian elephant populations, and on the basis of carrying out sufficient scientific research.

Key words: Asian elephant, Distribution, Population, Threat, Asian Elephant Range States Meeting

摘要: 亚洲象(Elephas maximus)是亚洲热带森林生态系统的旗舰物种,在增加物种丰富度和维持生态系统服务功能等方面扮演着重要角色。受到栖息地丧失和退化、非法盗猎和人象冲突等因素影响,世界野生亚洲象的分布和数量与过去相比大幅减少。为探究野生亚洲象分布及数量变化以及当前保护需要关注的重点,本文综述了近50年来亚洲象现存分布的南亚、东南亚以及中国的历史分布、数量动态、威胁因素、传统文化、法律法规和保护行动计划等方面的研究,得出以下结论:(1)近50年来,全球野生亚洲象数量动态呈现先下降后增长的趋势,1970—2000年持续下降,2000—2010年数量逐步增长,2010年至今缓慢下降;(2)南亚地区是稳定全球野生亚洲象种群的重要区域,主要是由于及时立法、传统文化保护等;而东南亚地区亚洲象种群持续下降,主要是受东南亚地区森林砍伐、非法盗猎等影响,印度尼西亚、婆罗洲等区域森林栖息地大面积丧失是数量不断下降的主要原因,缅甸和泰国地区数量下降的主要原因是非法盗猎和走私;(3)南亚地区的现存栖息地相对集中,东南亚地区破碎栖息地较多,缅甸还拥有较多的潜在分布区;(4)当前世界野生亚洲象面临的主要威胁是栖息地丧失和退化、盗猎和非法贸易、人象冲突等,基础设施建设、跨境困难、孤立种群等问题也不容忽视。科学合理的保护措施应当因地制宜,在开展充分的科学研究基础上,结合实际情况制定详细可行的保护计划。

关键词: 亚洲象, 分布, 数量, 威胁, 亚洲象分布国会议

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