Extinction threatens Asian elephants almost everywhere they live due to human encroachment on elephant habitats. As people move into elephant habitats, elephants are forced into ever-shrinking habitat island and often begin raiding human crops. The ensuing conflict between people and elephants over land often has disastrous consequences for both, causing significant economic losses for local communities and often resulting in human as well as elephant casualties.
Elephants ultimately lose in this conflict, being shot by farmers, electrocuted by crop protection fences, or run over by cars and trains.
Smithsonian scientists are tracking elephant movements relative to human disturbance to better understand and model the dynamics of human-elephant conflict. This research is critical to ensuring the species’ survival throughout Asia, the region with the world’s highest human population densities and perhaps the greatest development pressures.
Soon, you'll be able to track wild elphants in Sri Lnaka online here and in an “Animal Trax” module, which will beintegrated into the Zoo’s app in early 2014.
Real-time tracking is not yet live, but will be soon! When it is, the maps will look like this:
The Smithsonian is collaborating with scientists from the Centre for Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka.