Scientific Name: Elephas maximus
IUCN Red List status: Endangered
Protected by the following WLT projects:
Species Range (IUCN)
The Indian (or Asian Elephant) differs in many ways from its African relative - they are smaller in size and their ears are smaller, and the back of the Indian elephant is more rounded making the crown of the head the highest point of the body. The African species has a two-fingered tip to its trunk, while the Indian Elephant has only one 'finger'. The tusks of the male Indian Elephant are more curved and thicker than those of the African. Indian Elephants use traditional feeding routes and prefer a mixture of grassland and forest where they forages for grasses, bamboo, legumes, bark, succulent climbers and palms.
Threats and Conservation
Indian elephants once roamed through much of Asia south of the Himalayas, extending west into China and south to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. However, loss of habitat, hunting over hundreds of years, and human encroachment have significantly impacted on their numbers.
There are now estimated to be less than 50,000 Asian Elephants surviving in the wild and populations are restricted to isolated pockets of land. Because of the burgoening human population in India, elephants and humans are often in conflict particularly in food-producing areas.