Asian Elephant

Scientific Name: (Elephas maximus)
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Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Proboscidea

Family: Elephantidae

Genus: Elephas


Asian elephants grow up to 21 feet long, stand up to 10 feet tall, and weigh up to 11,000 pounds. They have large, flappable ears that help them cool off. During the hottest part of the day that have to retreat to the shade or water so they don't overheat. Are smaller than their African savannah relatives and have other distinctive physical properties. Some of these distinctive properties are that their ears are smaller and they have a rounder back. A major characteristic of an elephant are its modified incisor teeth which are known as tusks. Only some male Asian elephants have tusks and females (cows) have 'tushes' instead, that are seldom visible. The thick, wrinkly skin covering the body is a greyish-brown color and is very dry. Also known as the Indian elephant.

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Elephants are highly intelligent animals that have long life spans. Asian elephants can live up to 70 years in captivity. Asian elephants can eat up to 150kg of vegetation for food in one day. The elephants mostly just eat grasses but they can also eat shrub and bark. Since the Asian elephants eat so much vegetation daily their ecosystem is altered by creating new habitats for new emerging vegetation. They also defecate up to 18 times per day, which has an important role in dispersing the seeds of many plant species that they consume. Asian elephants also have a major role in the religion and culture of the region that they live in.

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Female and young male Asian elephants live in cohesive herds of adults and their offspring. The matriarch, usually the oldest and largest female, is usually in control of the group's activities. Herds often join together to form large groups called clans. The herds usually consist of about 6 or 7 female Asian elephants. Males leave the herds at puberty, which happens around year 13. Then they travel alone or in bachelor groups. Herds move depending upon food availability. Asian elephants communicate through different rumbles, growls, bellows, and moans.


Habitat Range:

Asian elephants live in large forests near water sources and grasslands. Their varied diet enables them to live in disturbed forests as long as they have plenty of space to move around and exploit different foods without coming into conflict with people. Their habitat that has been greatly reduced in the last half century. This species of elephant used to be very free-roaming and would live in areas around most of the Asian continent. But now Asian elephants are restricted to remote areas in countries around the continent of Asia. They inhabit areas of Asia that include India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, southern China. The number of Asian elephants still alive is estimated at around 25,000 to 33,000 in the wild.

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Numbers of Asian elephants have decreased because of habitat loss and poaching through their protected habitat range. Big areas of their land have been logged to accommodate the growing human population in certain areas. Some of the elephant populations are so close to human populations that they come into conflict with each other. Poaching for ivory is also a threat for Asian elephants. Since only male Asian elephants have tusks the elephant population has an overwhelming amount of females, which is a very big problem. Some other threats or issues that the Asian elephants have are diseases and being captured and then domesticated.



The Asian elephant is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but illegal poaching for ivory still remains a problem. Many elephants live in protected areas but they aren't big enough to accommodate the elephants so they come in close proximity with humans, which can lead to some problems. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched the Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS) in 1998 to help increase and secure their numbers. The WWF considers the Asian elephant a 'flagship' species, whose conservation is imperative to helping maintain biological diversity over extensive areas.


Video Links:


Works Cited:

"Asian Elephant - Elephas Maximus." Asian Elephant - Elephas Maximus. Carnivora, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. <>.

"Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus)." Asian Elephant Videos, Photos and Facts. ARKIVE, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. <>.

"Asian Elephant." National Geographic. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. <>.

"Asian Elephants." National Zoo. Smithsonian National Zoological Park, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2013. <>.

"Asian Elephants." WWF. WWF, n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2013. <>.

Jeremy Garling