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Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) Fact Sheet, 2008   Tags: asian, conservation, elephant, endangered, fact sheet, india, mammal, pachyderm, san diego zoo, trunk, tusk, zoos  

Last Updated: Oct 28, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) Fact Sheet, 2008

Image Credit: San Diego Zoo Global. All Rights Reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Order: Proboscidea

Family: Elephantidae

Subfamily: Elephantinae

Subtribe: Elephantina

Genus: Elephas

Species: Elephas maximus

Subspecies: E.m. maximus, E.m. Indicus,
E.m. sumatranus, E.m. borneensis

Body Weight:
2,000-5,500 kg. (4,500-12,000 lbs)

Shoulder Height:
Male: 3.2 m. (10 ft.);
Female: 2.24 m. (8 ft.)

Trunk: One "finger" at the end

Tusks: Females tuskless; percentages of tuskless males in populations vary widely (0 to 100%)

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Range: Indian subcontinent, Continental Southeast Asia, and Asian islands

Habitat: Tropical & subtropical moist broadleaf forests & dry broadleaf & dry scrub forests

IUCN Status: Endangered

CITES Appendix: Appendix I

Population in Wild: 30,000-50,000

ISIS captive population

Activity Cycle: Diurnal and nocturnal; feeding & traveling to food 70-90% of the time

Social Groups: Matriarchal herds of 8-12; males solitary

Diet: Herbivorious

Predators: Humans

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Age of Sexual Maturity:
Males: 14 to 15 years
Females: 15 to 16

Gestation: 22 months

Litter Size: Usually 1; twins possible

Birth weight: 75-115 kg (165-254 lbs)

Age at Weaning: 18 mos.-3+ years.

wild: 60-70

captivity: 80

Feature Facts:

  • Considered holy in Hindu and Buddhist cultures
  • Have ability to hear very low frequency sounds from far-off environment, including distant thunderstorms and hoofbeats of running animals.
  • First North American captive elephant born in Philadelphia, PA in 1880.

About This Fact Sheet

© 2008-2015 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated 2015.

How to cite: Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) Fact Sheet, 2008. c2008-2015. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd].
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Jan 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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