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

74 Asian elephant in taxidermy collections

IndexNameSexOriginAgeBirthDeath dateArrivalPresent or last Location
1-Pak Bahadur (Bahadir)-M 2023-00-00Izmir Sasali Natural Life Park Zoo
2-Kala-F 2021-12-00University of Jan Evangelista in Ústí nad Labem
3-Tamara-F 2019-00-00Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa
4-The elephant of Napoleon-F 2015-00-00Pavia Natural History Museum
5-Coco-F 2003-09-21Copenhagen Zoo
6-Lin Wang-M 2003-00-00National Taiwan Museum
7-Samba (Chamba, Tjampa)-F 2001-00-00Ghent Museum of Zoology
8-Ramon-M 1998-04-24Rotterdam Natural History Museum
9-Siam-M 1997-09-29Paris National Museum of Natural History
10-Jodee II (Jo-Dee)-F 1995-00-00University of Newcastle
11-Samorn-F 1994-00-00South Australian Museum
12-Black Diamond-M 1990-00-00Watkins Construction Co taxidermy museum
13-Bombay-F 1987-00-00Milan Natural History Museum
14-Mädi-F 1981-00-00Naturmuseum Senckenberg
15-Bambina-F 1967-01-22Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
16-Babar-F 1967-00-00Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
17-Frazor-M 1960-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
18-Ashok-M 1959-10-00Washington National Museum of Natural History
19-Zuma-F 1956-01-00Museo Civico di Zoologia
20-stillborn-F 1953-09-00Museo Civico di Zoologia
21-Remo-M 1952-12-00Museo Civico di Zoologia
22-Edici-F 1949-00-00National Museum of Brazil
23-Kechil-F 1947-10-27Washington National Museum of Natural History
24-Lunkentuss (Rani)-F 1941-02-18Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
25-Maharajah-M 1941-00-00Manchester Museum
26-Rajah-M 1936-00-00Auckland War Memorial Museum
27-Jin-Dau-F 1936-00-00Russian State Darwin Museum
28-Dolly-F 1935-02-04Perth Zoo
29-Hans-M 1931-07-00Bourges Museum of Natural History
30-Suleyman-M 1928-00-00Bavarian National Museum
31-Bambina-F 1927-00-00Museum of Karolinska skolan
32-Hitam-F 1925-06-26Washington National Museum of Natural History
33-Dunk (Duncan)-M 1917-03-30Washington National Museum of Natural History
34-Hero-M 1916-00-00W. H. Over Museum
35-Forepaughs Bolivar-M 1908-00-00The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
36-William-M 1906-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
37-Miss Siam-F 1904-00-00South Australian Museum
38-Margot-F 1903-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
39-Sir Roger-M 1900-00-00Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
40-Kelvin-M 1899-00-00Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
41-Gold Dust-M 1898-11-04Washington National Museum of Natural History
42-Don Pedro-M 1898-05-15Liverpool World Museum
43-Bosco-M 1893-00-00National Museum of Brazil
44-Bridgeport-F 1886-00-00Barnum Museum Bridgeport
45-Toby-M 1886-00-00Marseille Natural History Museum
46-Albert-M 1885-07-20Washington National Museum of Natural History
47-Prince-M 1882-00-00Trinity’ College Zoological Museum
48-Jacqueline-F 1880-00-00Antwerp Zoo
49-Tippoo Sahib-M 1878-00-00Joseph Moore Museum
50-unknown (Murten elephant)-M 1866-00-00Bern Institute of Anatomy
51-Rajah-M 1848-06-20 Liverpool Zoological Gardens
52-Garniers elephant- 1819-00-00Padua Museum of Zoology
53-Hansken-F 1774-00-00La Specola Museum of Zoology and Natural History
54-Elephant of Portici-M 1756-00-00Zoological Museum of Naples
55-Wilkins elephant-M 1681-07-17United Kingdom (England) unspecified location
56-Punjab-M Copenhagen Zoo
57-Tommy-M Two Tails Ranch
58-Gandhi-M Macleay Museum
59-Sziam-M Budapest Zoo
60-Tusko (Ned)-M University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History
61-Chengallor Ranganathan-M Thrissur Zoo
62-Sita-F Dublin Zoo
63-Fritz-M Museum of Fine Arts of Tours
64-Fritz-M Turin Regional Museum of Natural Science
65-Jack-M Groote museum
66-Chunee-M Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons
67-unknown-M Gautiers Menagerie
68-Blairs elephant-F The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge
69-King-M Angkor Villa Hotel
70-unknown-M Roland Persson
71-Önet Mammoth- Swedish Museum of Natural History (NRM)
72-Margarita-F Pontificia Catholic University Museum
73-unknown- Jamrachs Animal Emporium
74-Syrian elephant-M Natural History Museum of Ege University


  • 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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