When you think of an elephant, the first thought that comes to mind is usually the circus or the zoo or Dumbo. Perhaps one of these first thoughts is: “I want to ride one!” Yes, these are adorable, loving, perhaps fun-to-ride animals , but elephants (specifically Asian elephants) also serve a significant purpose in the wild, far beyond our anthropocentric uses for them.
The presence of Asian elephants brings balance to their ecosystem. “A future for Asian elephants ensures a future for other species and wildlife” (WWF, 2015).
The herbivorous diets of Asian elephants helps to maintain the integrity of forests and grasslands.
The large consumption of grasses and other plants allows them to produce large amounts of feces (up to 220 lbs per day!) as they travel through their habitat. This aids the spreading of seeds and fertilization of other plants.