The Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus)
Antique dealers for years have tried to overturn laws forbidding the sale of ivory. However, the UK Supreme Court has decided to withhold the ban on selling it. With elephants being so prone to overhunting, it is good to learn more about them.
Physical Description and Behavior
Elephants are one of the largest mammals to walk on land. They have gray skin, sparse hair, a long trunk, and massive ears. The males grow up to have large tusks which can be several feet in length.
Their lifespan is rather long, with the oldest known elephant living to 86 years old. Their average lifespan is about 60-70 years. The main reason they do not live longer than this is due to their herbivorous diet. The grasses they grind up wears away at their teeth, and sooner or later, they do not have enough teeth left to properly chew and digest their food.
Fun fact: The Asian Elephant is a keystone species due to how they alter the environment, benefitting smaller animals, and replenishing soil nutrients.
They are a nomadic species and can move around a lot. They can travel as fast as 32 km/h and can swim at fast speeds. That said, they can spend 12-18 hours a day looking for and eating food, which they need to graze constantly to maintain their large frames.
Habitat and Location
They currently live in grass and shrublands and used to reside in a 9 million square kilometer area in Asia. Now that area has dwindled to just 500,000 square kilometers.
They are considered to be endangered according to the IUCN Red List. This is mainly due to habitat loss and being hunted for their tusks. Since their tusks are often used for ivory and traditional folk medicines, they are always in high demand.
Learn more about these large majestic beasts by checking out the video below: