Asian Elephant

Asian ElephantOther Names: Indian Elephant
Scientific Name: Elephas maximus
Conservation Status: Endangered
Body Length: Up to 3.5 m
Weight: 2–5 tonnes
Gestation: 18–22 months
Number of young: 1

Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Indochina, South East Asia
Habitat: Forests, rainforests

Description: Asian Elephants are smaller than African Elephants and have smoother, darker skin and smaller ears. They also have a single, finger-like projection on their trunks, whereas the African Elephant has two. Elephants have large, ridged teeth so they can eat coarse bark, leaves, branches and grass. They use their trunks to pull down branches and strip trees.

Diet: Elephants are herbivores, often eating up to 160 kg of vegetation per day.

In the wild: The basic family unit is made up of about six members and consists of a mature female, her current offspring and juvenile offspring. These groups join other related family units to create a herd. Male offspring leave the group when they reach seven years of age and join herds during the breeding season only. Because of their size, elephants don’t have any natural predators.

Threats: There are two threats to their survival: habitat destruction from farming and logging; and poaching for the ivory trade.

At Perth Zoo: Perth Zoo’s Asian Elephants can be seen in the Asian Rainforest. Come for the ‘Elephants – Asia’s Jungle Giants’ presentation at 10 am (at the Bull Elephant exhibit) and at 1:45 pm (at the Elephant Amphitheatre) every day.

Did you know? Every year, mature male elephants go through a period called ‘musth’ (pronounced ‘must’) which signals their readiness for mating.

Elephants can use low frequency sound waves for communication between members of the herd and individuals outside the herd up to 15 km away.

Download the Asian Elephant Fact Sheet (pdf).

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