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Scientific name: Elephas maximus
Habitat: grasslands, marshes, savannas, and forests
Diet: bamboo, grasses, trees and shrubs
Life Span: 60-70 years
Young: 1 young every 4-9 years (calf)
Size: Males 2,700–5,000 kg (6,000–11,000 lbs); Females smaller
Asian elephants have been domesticated for thousands of years. They were used for transportation and in the logging industry. Today they are still used in logging, but more widely used in tourism and religious ceremonies.
The Asian elephant (Indian elephant) population is critically low in the wild, much lower than African elephants. This decline in numbers is due to habitat loss. Approximately 20% of the world’s human population live in the area where Asian elephants live. Logging, settlement, mining, farming, and hydroelectric projects continue to destroy the natural forests and grasslands of the region, making it difficult for Asian elephants to co-exist with the large human population. This loss of habitat in some areas has caused starvation in the herds, driving them to eat agricultural crops. Although elephants are revered in many of the Asian countries, they are sometimes culled (killed legally) for human safety.
Asian elephants are poached for the ivory trade, but this is less of a problem to their survival than habitat destruction. Asian elephant males have tusks, but they do not grow as large as their African cousins. Asian elephant females do not have tusks.
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