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The Indian Elephant, Elephas maximus indicus, is one of four subspecies of the Asian Elephant, the largest population of which is found in Indiamarker. This subspecies is also found in Bangladeshmarker, Bhutanmarker, Cambodiamarker, Chinamarker, Laosmarker, Peninsular Malaysiamarker, Burma/Myanmarmarker, Nepalmarker, Pakistanmarker, Thailandmarker and Vietnammarker.

The other three subspecies of the Asian Elephant are the Sumatran Elephant (E. m. sumatranus), Sri Lankan Elephant (E. m. maximus) and Borneo Elephant (E. m. borneensis).

Habitat

Indian Elephants live in or near scrub-forested areas, although their habitat may vary. They tend to be nomadic in nature and do not stay in one place for more than a few days. They can live in jungles but gravitate towards areas that contain open space and grass.

Physical characteristics

Size

The Indian Elephant is up to 6.4 metres (21 ft) long; it is taller and thinner than the Asian elephant found in Thailand. The largest Indian Elephant was 26ft (7.88m) long, stood , 9in (3.61m) at the arch of the back, and weighed 8 tons (17935 lbs). Indian elephants look similar to African elephants but they have smaller ears and shorter tusks. .

Body structure

Since Indian Elephants are a subspecies of the Asian Elephants, there are not many differences. Indian elephants have smaller ears, but relatively broader skulls and larger trunks than African elephants. Females are smaller than males and have no tusks. Toes are large and broad. The feet and nails are not large. Unlike their African cousins, their abdomen is proportionate with their body weight but the African elephant has a large abdomen as compared to the skull.

Population & endangerment

The WWF considers the Indian Elephant widely distributed, but endangered. The current population of the Indian Elephant is in the range of 20,000-25,000. The Indian Elephant was assessed as an endangered species in 1996 by the Asian Elephant Specialist Group. Indian Elephants are threatened by poaching for the ivory of their tusks, by the loss of habitat due to human pressure on forested areas and due to human conflict. The isolated populations of wild elephants in individual wildlife sanctuaries are also threatened by loss of genetic diversity. Recently a number of corridors connecting wildlife sanctuaries have been established to encourage the migration of wild elephants.

Image:Elephant Kodanad India1.JPG|Baby Elephants at KodanadmarkerImage:cage06.jpg|The elephant namely Soman at the elephant training centre, Konnimarker, Pathanamthittamarker

See also



References

  1. Honolulu Zoo Indian Elephant
  2. Honolulu Zoo Indian Elephant
  3. WWF - Indian elephant
  4. 2007 IUCN Red List – Search
  5. Indian Elephant,Asian Elephant,Elephant in India,Asian Elephant India,Information on Indian Elephant,Endangered Animals in India,Asian Elephant Tours


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