Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Indian (Asian) Elephant

©Stacey Manley & Gareth West/

© Marie Chambers

Class: Mammalia

Order: Proboscidea

Family: Elephantidae

Scientific Name:Elephas maximus

IUCN Red List status: Endangered


Protected by the following WLT projects:

 

Indian Elephant Corridors Appeal

 

Species Range (IUCN)

Description

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.

Learn more

See IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for more information on the classification of the Indian Elephant Photos of the Indian Elephant Corridor Appeal (Flickr) Video: Indian Elephants
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