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the Asian Elephant

1

The Asian elephant, also called Asiatic elephant, is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the south.

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres and sharing the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe.

Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia.

The Indian subcontinent or the subcontinent is a southern region of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas.

Asian elephant: Intersections at the Oregon Zoo by Oregon Zoo

2

Three subspecies are recognised—E. m. maximus from Sri Lanka, E. m. indicus from mainland Asia and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra.

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia near south-east India.

In biological classification, subspecies is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, or a taxonomic unit in that rank.

Sumatra is a large island in western Indonesia that is part of the Sunda Islands.

Baby Asian elephant: Asian elephant born in Israeli zoo by ODN

3

The Asian elephant is the largest living land animal 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 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, founded in 1964, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.

The ear is the organ of hearing and, in mammals, balance.

5

It is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching.

Poaching has been defined as the illegal hunting or capturing of wild animals, usually associated with land use rights.

Habitat destruction is the process by which natural habitat is rendered incapable of supporting its native species.

6

In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.

7

Female captive elephants have lived beyond 60 years when kept in semi-natural surroundings, such as forest camps.

8

In zoos, Asian elephants die at a much younger age; captive populations are declining due to a low birth and high death rate.

9

The genus Elephas originated in Sub-Saharan Africa during the Pliocene and spread throughout Africa before emigrating to southern Asia.

The Pliocene Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58 million years BP.

Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara desert.

10

The earliest indications of captive use of Asian elephants are engravings on seals of the Indus Valley Civilisation dated to the 3rd millennium BC.

The Indus Valley Civilisation, or Harappan Civilisation, was a Bronze Age civilisation mainly in the northwestern regions of South Asia.

The 3rd millennium BC spanned the years 3000 through 2001 BC.

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