The Asian Elephant

The Mammoth of Southeast Asia

Characteristics

The Asian Elephant is one of the largest land animals in the world. At 6.5-11.5 ft and weighing around 13,000 pounds, few animals dare get in the way of this beast. Despite their massive body, these animals are actually quite timid and are vegetarians. They will basically eat any plant that it crosses paths with, from roots and grasses to bark and fruit. Many people confuse this elephant with its' cousin the Indian Elephant. The main way you can tell the difference between the two is that Asian Elephants have smaller, rounder ears, they kind of look like the continent of Africa. These animals can be found anywhere in the Southeast Asia region, from India to Vietnam, living in forests or grasslands. Two of the most noticeable parts of the elephant are its' trunk and tusks, which also happen to be some of the most vital parts of it but only male elephants have tusks. The nose is used for breathing, smelling, grabbing things, drinking and also trumpeting. Their tusks can be used to dig, strip trees of bark and fight other elephants. Asian Elephants barely sleep because they are always trying to fill their never ending appetite. Also, since they are so big, they need to drink water at least once a way. So, they are usually near a source of water. Female elephants have the longest pregnancy time of 22 months. But they usually only have a calf for two to four years. But, during these times mothers usually roam around with other mothers in groups of six to seven while males tend to roam by themselves.
This male elephant in captivity is stuffing himself with a variety of plants and fruits.


Did You Know?

Did you know that the Asian Elephants trunk contains about 100,000 muscles alone?


Its' Interaction With Humans

Asian elephants have been domesticated for thousands of years. The powerful beasts have been used to move heavy objects, such as fallen trees, to carry humans on their backs, in ceremonies and even to wage war. Asian elephants seem to be less aggressive than their cousins, the African Elephants. The first domestication of these mammals were during the Harrapan times which began in 3300 B.C.E. The elephants are heavily protected by Hindus because of its affinity with Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. He is one of the most popular and highly praised gods.

Did You Know?

Did you know that supposedly, Koshik, a 22 year old elephant, reportedly imitated six words of the Korean language?

Endangered Elephants!

Today, Elephants are becoming endangered in all of their habitats. Their ivory tusks are made of ivory which is an extremely valuable material. This makes them a very high for poachers. Although these animals are carefully protected hundred of elephants still die every year for their ivory, hide or meat. Also, the rapidly growing population of Southeast Asia is forcing countries to clear down forests and grasslands to create space for their people. Because of this Elephants are getting less and less space to roam around and find food. In their quest for food, elephants may destroy entire farms in a single raid. This leaves elephants vulnerable to be killed by farmers in retaliation. Also, because of industrialization, elephants' migration routes are often cut off my human settlements and large development projects. All of these reasons have caused for an increase of elephants in captivity.
In this picture, ivory is found in a container from Kenya, and is being confiscated by customs agents in Hong Kong.


World Elephant Day

Monday, Aug 12th, 12am-11:45pm

EVERYWHERE!

Spread the news about how elephants are becoming endangered! The more the people know, the more they can help scientists save the elephants and their habitats!


Bibliography

National Geographic. "Asian Elephant" animals.nationalgeographic.com April 29, 2013

<http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/asian-elephant/>

World Wild Life Panda. "Asian Elephant" wwf.panda.org April 26, 2013

<http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/elephants/asian_elephants/>

World Wild Life. Barney Long "Asian Elephant" worldwildlife.org April 26, 2013

<http://worldwildlife.org/species/asian-elephant>