- Genus/Species: Elephas maximus
- Conservation Status: Endangered
- Location: Southeast Asia, from India in the west to Borneo in the east.
10 Feet Tall and The Smallest of the Species
The Asian elephant is found in scrub forest. It favors areas with grass, low woody plants and trees. It is smaller than the African elephant, with relatively smaller ears. Asian Elephants are extremely sociable, forming groups of 6 to 7 related females that are led by the oldest female, the 'matriarch'.
Asian elephants are the smallest among the elephant species. Still, they stand about 10 feet tall - twice the height of a 13 year old kid and weigh as almost as much as three cars together - around 11,000 pounds. They spend more than two thirds of the day feeding on grasses, but large amounts of tree bark, roots, leaves and small stems are also eaten. Cultivated crops such as bananas, rice and sugarcane are favored foods. Because they need to drink at least once a day, they are always found close to a source of fresh water.
Asia’s growing population has resulted in the loss of the dense forests that are the elephant’s home. As a result, wild elephant populations are declining. Poaching remains a serious problem in many countries, even though it is against the law. The capture of wild elephants for domestic use has become a threat to wild population too. India, Vietnam, and Myanmar have banned capture in order to protect elephants in the wild. You can help the Asian elephant by supporting as well as adopting an elephant through organizations like the World Wildlife Fund.
Did You Know?
- Asian elephants need 330 lbs of vegetation and drink 30 gallons of water a day.
- Elephants have incredible memories.
- Elephants have poor eyesight but very sharp hearing.
- Females only give birth to one calf at a time and very occasionally to twins.