The Indian Elephant, Elephas maximus indicus, is one of four subspecies of the Asian Elephant, the largest population of which is found in India. This subspecies is also found in Bangladesh,Pakistan ,Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.
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).
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.
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
. They are also the only elephant
to be used by humans
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.