Asian elephant

asian elephant

(Elephas maximus)

Species, also called Asiatic elephant, belonging to the family of elephants, named by Carl Linnaeus, 1758.

Recognized subspecies:

Characteristics of the asian elephant

asian elephant
  • The neck is low, and then curving up
  • The skin is less wrenkled
  • Ears are small, looks like indian continent
  • Head has two bumps
  • Forehead is protruding
  • The underlip is long, narrow and pointed
  • Only abt 50% of bulls wear long tusks
  • Females wear tushes or nothing
  • 19 pairs of ribs (Sumatran subspecies 20)
  • The frontfeet has five nails, the hindfeet four
        (like the african forest elephant)
  • The trunktip has one prehensile protrusion
Compare with the african bush elephant!

Taxonomy and distribution

Asian elephant is a species belonging to the family of elephants (Elephantidae), which is included in the mammal order Proboscidea. It was formerly called Indian elephant, which is a confusing name, since Asian elephants once distributed from Tigris and Euphrates Valleys of Syria and Iraq to the yellow river of China and South to Sumatra (Daniel, 1995).
They presently occur in 13 asian countries, from west India , to southern China, and in southeast from the malay peninsula to the islands Sumatra and Borneo, why "Indian" is unappropiate, and the name "Indian elephant" even if only used for the Indian subspecies is also not totally relevant, since this subspecies covers all elephants living on Asian mainland.

So when speaking about the entire species (Elephas maximus), it should be refered to as Asian elephant, or Asiatic elephant.

The straight-tusked elephant, an extinct elephant whose closest extant relative is the African forest elephant, interbred with the Asian elephant, as recovered DNA has shown.(Callaway, Elephant history rewritten by ancient genomes)


Wild population

Since the Asian elephant live in dense forest and djungles, is it much more difficult to estimate the present individual population number, why official population numbers follow a minimum and maximum estimation, and a suggested average.

Note: My total mean number differ from Gajahs total mean of 43 445, since in their calculation (obviously a total mean with and sum total-min + sum total-max / 2?), they used 0 (zero) in the minimum estimation for Thailand, calculation, while, even if Min values is lacking (NA), for sure, 0 does not reflect a realistic Min value. I simply made a mean total, by adding all records in the right mean column.

Captive population

population parameters of Asian elephant range countries
Source: Gajah nr 35, 2012. (Journal of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group)
Aproximately 25000 elephants are kept in captivity (Sukumar 2006):
Asia+20 000

66 Asian elephant in taxidermy collections

IndexNameSexOriginAgeBirthDeath dateArrivalPresent or last Location
1-Kala-F 2021-12-00University of Jan Evangelista in Ústí nad Labem
2-The elephant of Napoleon-F 2015-00-00Pavia Natural History Museum
3-Coco-F 2003-09-21Copenhagen Zoo
4-Lin Wang-M 2003-00-00National Taiwan Museum
5-Samba (Chamba, Tjampa)-F 2001-00-00Ghent Museum of Zoology
6-Ramon-M 1998-04-24Rotterdam Natural History Museum
7-Siam-M 1997-09-29Paris National Museum of Natural History
8-Jodee II (Jo-Dee)-F 1995-00-00University of Newcastle
9-Samorn-F 1994-00-00South Australian Museum
10-Black Diamond-M 1990-00-00Watkins Construction Co taxidermy museum
11-Bombay-F 1987-00-00Milan Natural History Museum
12-Mädi-F 1981-00-00Naturmuseum Senckenberg
13-Bambina-F 1967-01-22Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
14-Babar-F 1967-00-00Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
15-Frazor-M 1960-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
16-Ashok-M 1959-10-00Washington National Museum of Natural History
17-Zuma-F 1956-01-00Museo Civico di Zoologia
18-stillborn-F 1953-09-00Museo Civico di Zoologia
19-Remo-M 1952-12-00Museo Civico di Zoologia
20-Kechil-F 1947-10-27Washington National Museum of Natural History
21-Lunkentuss (Rani)-F 1941-02-18Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
22-Maharajah-M 1941-00-00Manchester Museum
23-Rajah-M 1936-00-00Auckland War Memorial Museum
24-Jin-Dau-F 1936-00-00Russian State Darwin Museum
25-Hans-M 1931-07-00Bourges Museum of Natural History
26-Suleyman-M 1928-00-00Bavarian National Museum
27-Bambina-F 1927-00-00Museum of Karolinska skolan
28-Hitam-F 1925-06-26Washington National Museum of Natural History
29-Dunk (Duncan)-M 1917-03-30Washington National Museum of Natural History
30-Hero-M 1916-00-00W. H. Over Museum
31-Forepaughs Bolivar-M 1908-00-00The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
32-William-M 1906-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
33-Miss Siam-F 1904-00-00South Australian Museum
34-Margot-F 1903-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
35-Sir Roger-M 1900-00-00Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
36-Kelvin-M 1899-00-00Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
37-Gold Dust-M 1898-11-04Washington National Museum of Natural History
38-Don Pedro-M 1898-05-15Liverpool World Museum
39-Bridgeport-F 1886-00-00Barnum Museum Bridgeport
40-Toby-M 1886-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
41-Albert-M 1885-07-20Washington National Museum of Natural History
42-Prince-M 1882-00-00Trinity’ College Zoological Museum
43-Jacqueline-F 1880-00-00Antwerp Zoo
44-Tippoo Sahib-M 1878-00-00Joseph Moore Museum
45-unknown (Murten elephant)-M 1866-00-00Bern Institute of Anatomy
46-Garniers elephant- 1819-00-00Padua Museum of Zoology
47-Hansken-F 1774-00-00La Specola Museum of Zoology and Natural History
48-Elephant of Portici-M 1756-00-00Zoological Museum of Naples
49-Wilkins elephant-M 1681-07-17United Kingdom (England) unspecified location
50-Punjab-M Copenhagen Zoo
51-Tommy-M Two Tails Ranch
52-Gandhi-M Macleay Museum
53-Sziam-M Budapest Zoo
54-Tusko (Ned)-M University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History
55-Chengallor Ranganathan-M Thrissur Zoo
56-Fritz-M Museum of Fine Arts of Tours
57-Fritz-M Turin Regional Museum of Natural Science
58-Jack-M Groote museum
59-Chunee-M Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons
60-unknown-M Gautiers Menagerie
61-Blairs elephant-F The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge
62-King-M Angkor Villa Hotel
63-unknown-M Roland Persson
64-Önet Mammoth- Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
65-Margarita-F Pontificia Catholic University Museum
66-unknown- Jamrachs Animal Emporium


  • Callaway, E. (2016-09-16), Nature, Elephant history rewritten by ancient genomes
  • Recommended literature

    : The Asian Elephant: An Action Plan for Its Conservation by Charles Santiapillai, Peter Jackson, Iucn, Ssc Asian Elephant Specialist Group.

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