The world needs creatures that inspire wonder.
There is important work to be done to ensure that elephants, like their Ice Age cousins, don't disappear from the earth. At current rates, elephants could become extinct within 20 years.
Consider that the elephant population in East Africa has dropped more than 90% in the last 30 years
(from 3 million down to 250,000)!
Consider that poaching is currently reducing the elephant population in Africa by 10% per year.
Preservation of habitat, political stability, sustainable economic development, and anti-poaching efforts (and especially, reducing demand for ivory) will all play a role in the long term survival of elephants.
Conservation information is available at:
This link describes the probable role of mastodons in their ecosystem and warns of impending danger regarding today's forest elephant population.