Elephant (Asian)

Elephant (Asian)

Eilifint Áiseach

  • Scientific name: Elephas maximus
  • IUCN status: Endangered
  • Habitat: India, Sri Lanka and east as far as Sumatra – dry and wet forests and plains
  • Diet: Herbivore – grasses, bamboo, legumes, succulent climbers, creepers, palms, bark

It is estimated there are less than 42,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild and they have virtually disappeared from south-west Asia and China. Wild herds are made up of females led by a matriarch and are only joined by males when they are ready to breed. Compared with African elephants, the Asian species has smaller ears (shaped rather like India!), its head is higher than its shoulder.

Keeper’s Secret

An elephant’s trunk is formed from the nose and upper lip. It is used for breathing, smelling, touching, communicating, washing, dust-bathing, picking up objects, eating and drinking!

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