From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Asian or Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and distributed in Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognized — Elephas maximus maximus from Sri Lanka, the Indian elephant or E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra. Asian elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.
Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is pre-eminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.
Asian elephants are rather long-lived, with a maximum recorded life span of 86 years.
This animal is widely domesticated, and has been used in forestry in South and Southeast Asia for centuries and also for ceremonial purposes. Historical sources indicate that they were used during harvest seasons primarily for milling. Wild elephants attract tourist money to the areas where they can most readily be seen, but damage crops, and may enter villages to raid gardens.