Elephants in India

The Asian Elephant

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An Asian elephant cooling itself off on a hot day

What is the Asian elephant?

The elephant is the earth's largest land animal. The Asian elephant is slightly smaller than the African elephant, but still very large. The Asian elephant can live up to 60 years old. The average Asian elephant is about 6-9 feet in height, and weighs from 2-5 tons. That is very heavy. The Asian elephant is highly endangered. This is due to poachers and humans knocking down their land and making buildings. The poachers kill elephants mainly for their ivory tusks, which are very valuable to humans. The Asian elephant is very popular in India. The Asian elephant is mostly popular in Kerala.
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Kerala, India. Where Asian elephants are most popular.

The elephants connection to Religion

The elephant is very important to Buddhism. The elephant is a symbol of strength. In Buddhism the elephant specifically symbolizes mental strength. A person new to Buddhism is symbolized as a gray elephant. This is because a gray elephant is wild and could run off at any moment. Buddhists use this symbol because somebody new to Buddhism could stop at any moment because they could not be committed. Somebody that has practiced Dharma, and has a controlled mind, is symbolized by a white elephant to show their strength and power. An elephant is even pictured guarding the temples of Buddha himself. A very well known elephant in Buddhism is Ganesha. He is a minor deity, and is known as the remover of obstacles. Elephants are popular not only in Buddhism, but in India's mythology. A popular myth is of a flying elephant that is the vehicle of Agra. It is told that the elephant descended from the ocean. In Indian society, elephants were known to bring good luck.


The Asian elephant uses it's tusks to dig for roots and try to find water; they even fight each other with them. Humans like the elephant's ivory and kill them for it. This is because ivory is so valuable to some humans. A lot of elephants have been killed for their tusks. This is illegal, but it has not been stopped completely. Humans use ivory mostly for tools. Such as chop sticks, spear heads, pool balls, and the keys on a piano. It is also a very prized material. Some people just get the ivory to praise it, similar to diamonds.

Did you know?

The trunk on an Asian elephant contains about 100,000 muscles.

An adult Asian elephant can eat up to 300 pounds of food a day!

Works Cited


http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/asian-elephant/-Article author is unknown.


http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-BH/bh117490.htm -"Symbolism of animals in Buddhism" by: Ven. Jampa Choskyi

by: RJ Briones