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Mammalia > Proboscidea > Elephantidae > Elephas

Elephas maximas Linnaeus, 1758 – Asiatic Elephant

Taxonomic Notes:

Asiatic elephant or Asian elephant has three subspecies viz. Sri Lankan Elephant E. m. maximus, Indian Elephant E. m. indicus and Sumatran Elephant E. m. sumatranus. Recognition of fourth subspecies i.e. Borneo Elephant or Pygmy Elephant E. m. borneensis is taxonomically debatable. 

This species is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (

Indian and global distribution:
records (based on images):
Sexual, seasonal & individual variation:
Status, Habitat and Habits:

Indian subspecies occurs in Himalayan Foothills, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh; West Bengal Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur; Odhisha, Jharkhand, Chhatisgar; Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. Apart from India, this subspecies is dirtributed to Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, thiland, Malay Peninsula and Vietnam. Sri Lankan subspecies is restrcted only to Sri Lanka, and Sumatran subspecies is native to Sumatra. Pygmy Elephant is restricted to Borneo. 
Asian/Asiatic Elephant inhabits a large variety of habitat. This includes evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, dry deciduous forest, terai, grasslands, scrublands, secondary forests and cultivation. Asiatic elephant is a megaherbivore that feeds mainly on plant material including leaves, branches, fruits, etc. Asiatic elephant can travel long distances and their travel routes are often permenant. they are also known to show short distance and seasonal elevational migration.

Conservation Status:

This species is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (

According to IUCN Red List assessment, population of all the subspecies is decreasing radiply. It global population is between 41,000 and 50,000 individuals, out of which about half of the population is restricted to India. However, population has faced a drastic decline in recent years. Indian and Sri Lankan subspecies is Endangered whereas Sumatran subspecies is listed as Critically Endangered population of which is not more than 2,000 individuals. 
Asian Elephant faces a wide variety of threats. Habitat fragmentation and loss due to logging, mining, agriculture, cultivatio, residential and commercial development is the primary one. Poaching for ivory and retaliatory killing has caused a direct threat to its survival in the wild.

Mammalia > Proboscidea > Elephantidae > Elephas

Cite this page along with its URL as:
Bayani, A. 2022. Elephas maximas Linnaeus, 1758 – Asiatic Elephant. A. Bayani, R. Chakravarty, P. Roy, and K. Kunte (editors). Mammals of India, v. 1.13. editors.
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