Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)

male Asian Elephant

male Asian Elephant

The Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the second largest living land animal after the African Elephant. Originally, these giants occurred in large parts of South and Southeast Asia living in different habitats including grasslands and tropical forests. Today, the populations are strongly fragmented and mostly restricted to national parks and other protected areas. The animals live in groups consisting mainly of females, while bulls are normally solitary. Elephants are herbivores feeding on grass, leaves, fruits, bark etc. Each day the large animals eat around 150 kg of plant matter! Elephants have long been domesticated by humans and used, for example, during wars, in farming, as beasts of burden, or as platforms for hunting. Today, wild populations of Asian Elephants are threatened mainly by loss of habitats as well as poaching for ivory. I was lucky enough to see these gentle giants on a visit to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, southern India, during September 2011. Similarly to their African cousins, it is striking how quiet these large animals are. Even standing just a couple of metres away, you hear only the rustling of a few leaves…

male Asian Elephant

male Asian Elephant

female hiding in the forest

female hiding in the forest

male bull on night drive

male bull on night drive

male bull feeling comfortable

male bull feeling comfortable

3 responses to “Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)

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