The Art and Science of Elephants

Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) study Asian elephants, which are endangered. There are about 30,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild—that’s compared to about 500,000 African elephants in the wild. One issue that our scientists study is human–elephant conflict. Despite coexisting with Asian elephants for thousands of years, dramatic changes in how people interact with land and elephants have caused a significant increase in human-elephant conflict. SCBI scientists, with local and regional experts, are developing tools for the management and protection of Asian elephants.

In addition to doing research in Asia, our scientists also do research with the elephants that live at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. You can also catch a glimpse of the Zoo's elephants on the Elephant Cam.

Asian and African elephants from across the Smithsonian are featured below.