The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only extant member of the genus Elephas. The distribution ranges from western India to eastern Borneo in Southeast Asia. There are three recognized subspecies: the Indian subspecies found in mainland Asia, the Sumatran subspecies found only in Sumatra, and the large subspecies found only in Sri Lanka. Historically, the Syrian elephant (Elephas maximus asurus) was the furthest western population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). More interesting details are provided below. Learn ten interesting things about Asian elephants. Read on for 10 incredible Asian elephant facts!
1. They are one of only three types of elephants
There are three types of elephants, including the African forest elephant, the Asian elephant, and the African savannah (or jungle) elephant. Elephants in the African savannah are larger than those in the African forest, which was separated as a separate species in 2000.
2. Asia is an important cultural and religious symbol
Once considered a deadly weapon, the Asian elephant is now revered as a symbol of peace and spirituality. In the distant past, several ancient armies swept across Asia riding elephants. Unfortunately, these elephants aren’t always an asset. In India, elephants are considered sacred creatures. Many Hindus believe that the god Ganesha can help them overcome obstacles and bring them good luck.
3. You can tell Asian elephants by their ears
The ears of African elephants are much larger than those of their ancestors and are said to take on the shape of Africa. The shape of the ears of Asian elephants is similar to that of the Indian subcontinent. The trunks of African and Asian elephants differ in several ways, including the number and placement of “fingers” at the end of the trunks of the two species.
4. Their luggage is very important in their daily life
About 150,000 individual muscle cells make up an elephant’s trunk. The trunks of Asian elephants are so sensitive that researchers think they may be the most sensitive organs ever found in animals.
Elephants suck up to 8 liters of water through their trunks, which they wear like snorkels and use them in the water. Unlike African elephants, Asian elephants have two toenails on each foot.
5. Their tusks are actually their teeth
Tusks first appear on two-year-old elephants as just enlarged incisors. The tusks consumed the mammoth’s entire life. Ivory has many uses, such as weapons in combat and foraging tools (by barking trees or digging roots, respectively). Despite their visual appeal, elephants are often at risk due to their tusks. These parts are made of ivory, a rare and valuable material.
6. Elephants keep eating
Elephants’ diet ranges from grass and leaves to bushes and fruit to roots, depending on the time of year and where they live. When conditions are particularly dry, elephants increase their consumption of woody plant parts, including twigs, twigs and bark.
They have to eat up to 150 kilograms of food (equivalent to about 375 canned goods) every day. However, half of them will probably pass through their system intact. Elephants may only be active about 3/4 of the day due to overeating.
7. They drink a lot of water
Elephants have daily drinking needs; therefore, you can usually find them near fresh water supplies. Because of their long history with humans, elephants have become important icons in many Asian cultures. An elephant needs at least two to three days of drinking water, perhaps around 200 liters per day, to keep the animal from becoming severely dehydrated.
8. Asian elephants have thick protective skin
An elephant’s skin is usually 2.5 cm thick. The folds and wrinkles in their skin can store up to 10 times as much water as smooth skin, helping to keep them cool. They often take mud and dust baths to protect their skin from the sun.
9. The baby elephant can stand up soon after birth
Newborn elephants can stand in just 20 minutes after birth and take their first steps an hour later. After two days, they will be able to keep up with the herd. This remarkable survival tactic allows elephant herds to keep moving in search of water and food.
10. Asia is the continent’s largest mammal
Adult Asian elephants weigh between 6,000 and 12,000 pounds, making them smaller than their African counterparts. The average height of males of this species is 6-12 feet at the shoulder, and males tend to be stockier than females.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.