Asian elephant

(Elephas maximus)

Species, also called Asiatic elephant, belonging to the family of elephants, named by Carl Linnaeus, 1758.

Caracteristics of the asian elephant

asian elephant
  • The neck is low, and then curving up
  • The skin is less wrenkled
  • Ears are small, looks like indian continent
  • Head has two bumps
  • Forehead is protruding
  • The underlip is long, narrow and pointed
  • Only abt 50% of bulls wear long tusks
  • Females wear tushes or nothing
  • 19 pairs of ribs (Sumatran subspecies 20)
  • The frontfeet has five nails, the hindfeet four
        (like the african forest elephant)
  • The trunktip has one prehensile protrusion
Compare with the african bush elephant!

Taxonomy and distribution

Asian elephant is a species belonging to the family of elephants (Elephantidae), which is included in the mammal order Proboscidea. It was formerly called Indian elephant, which is a confusing name, since Asian elephants once distributed from Tigris and Euphrates Valleys of Syria and Iraq to the yellow river of China and South to Sumatra (Daniel, 1995).
They presently occur in 13 asian countries, from west India , to southern China, and in southeast from the malay peninsula to the islands Sumatra and Borneo, why "Indian" is unappropiate, and the name "Indian elephant" even if only used for the Indian subspecies is also not totally relevant, since this subspecies covers all elephants living on Asian mainland.

So when speaking about the entire species (Elephas maximus), it should be refered to as Asian elephant, or Asiatic elephant.

Population

Wild population

Since the Asian elephant live in dense forest and djungles, is it much more difficult to estimate the present individual population number, why official population numbers follow a minimum and maximum estimation, and a suggested average.

population parameters of Asian elephant range countries
Source: Gajah nr 35, 2012. (Journal of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group)
CountryMinMaxAverage
Bangladesh300350325
Bhutan60150105
Cambodia250600425
China178193186
India260002800027000
Indonesia240028002600
Laos600800700
Malaysia242353473885
Myanmar118120561619
Nepal109142126
Sri Lanka587958795879
ThailandNA10001000
Vietnam8311097
Total394634742743947

Note: My total mean number 43947 differ from Gajahs total mean of 43 445, since in their calculation (obviously a total mean with and sum total-min + sum total-max / 2?), they used 0 (zero) in the minimum estimation for Thailand, calculation, while, even if Min values is lacking (NA), for sure, 0 does not reflect a realistic Min value. I simply made a mean total, by adding all records in the right mean column.

Captive population

Aproximately 25000 elephants are kept in captivity (Sukumar 2006):
Africa8
Australia26
Europe427
Northamerica277
Southamerica35
Asia+20 000

asian elephant

Recognized subspecies:

Recommended literature:
The Asian Elephant: An Action Plan for Its Conservation by Charles Santiapillai, Peter Jackson, Iucn, Ssc Asian Elephant Specialist Group.


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