The current range of the Indian elephant is only 5% of its historical range.
It inhabits the forests and thickets of South and Southeast Asia.
The Indian elephant is more closely related to the mammoth than to the other two modern elephants. It has large, flat ears, but definitely smaller than those of an African elephant. His skin is gray covered with hair. The height at the withers is even 3.1 m, and the body weight is up to 6 tons.
The elephant’s proboscis, which is formed as a result of connecting the nose with the upper lip, helps the elephant to get food. It is used not only for catching, but also for breathing, smelling, collecting water, trumpeting, and communicating with other individuals.
Thanks to their sensitive feet, elephants feel the ground shake. They can even hear the vibrations associated with it.
The Indian elephant is a herbivorous animal. Its diet includes over 100 species of plants, including grasses, leaves, stems, bamboo, tree bark, flowers, fruits, seeds, cereals and nuts. It spends up to 14–19 hours a day on feeding.
It drinks up to 225 liters of water a day, of which it can consume up to 100 liters at a time.
The Indian elephant leads a nomadic lifestyle, often moving around. It can reach speeds of up to 32 km/h.
It is a very good swimmer.
He spends 12 to 18 hours a day looking for food.
Indian elephants form matriarchal social groups.
Females and offspring live together in a group, and males in smaller groups or alone.
The life expectancy of an Indian elephant is 60–70 years. It reaches maturity at 9–15 years of age, but this can vary greatly depending on the environment.
Asian elephants breed every 4–5 years. Pregnancy usually lasts 22 months. The female gives birth to one young. Twins are very rare. A newborn weighs about 100 kg and measures about 1 m in height. It is fed with milk for 8–10 months, sometimes up to about 2 years, rarely up to 4 years of age.
Indian elephants have a major impact on the ecosystem in which they live. You can say that they are the greatest gardeners in the world. They eat large amounts of food every day, which facilitates the circulation of nutrients.
Elephants in Asia inhabit regions with large human populations, which significantly affects deforestation.
As a result, elephants occupy smaller and smaller forest areas and their natural migration routes are blocked. In the context of such drastic environmental changes, the continued survival of elephants in Asia depends on the preservation of protected areas, the restoration of habitats that have been severely degraded, and the preservation of connectivity between forest habitats.
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
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