Sri Lankan Elephant

Elephant

The Asian or Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognised—E. m. maximus from Sri Lanka, the E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra.[1] Asian elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.[4]

Since 1986, the Asian elephant has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List as the population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The Asian elephant is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching.[3] In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals. Female captive elephants have lived beyond 60 years when kept in semi-natural surroundings, such as forest camps. In zoos, Asian elephants die at a much younger age; captive populations are declining due to a low birth and high death rate.[5] The oldest elephant ever recorded however, lived and died in a zoo, at the age of 82 years. [6]

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