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The Asian elephant is unique, being the only species of wild animal that, after a few months of teaching by man, behaves towards him with patience and understanding. This touching relationship between man and elephant in Asia from time immemorial sends strong conservation impulses through governments, decision-makers, and the general public. The Asian elephant is in grave danger. The surviving population in the wild is only a tenth of that of the African elephant, on which so much attention has been focused in recent years. The greatest threat to the Asian elephant is habitat loss and the pressures of human population, which have already reduced the Asian elephant's range to a small fraction of its past area. Domesticated for several thousand years, the Asian elephant is still proving its value in forest industries. It has an important historical role in religion and culture throughout the region. Reconciling conservation of the Asian elephant with human interests has to be given the highest priority. This is the aim of this Action Plan.