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.


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

55 Asian elephant in taxidermy collections

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

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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