The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have joined forces to launch an Inaugural Asian Elephant Awareness Month.
These elephant conservation groups have designated this month to raise awareness about the importance of Asian elephants and why they need your help to prevent extinction.
To help raise awareness about the importance of saving all elephants, we want to share some Asian elephant facts.
Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants.
Although elephants are the largest land mammals, there is a difference in size between the different species. Asian elephants are the smallest out of the three kinds of elephants. These animals may reach the height of six to 12 feet. The male Asian elephants are larger than the females.
Asian elephants have subspecies.
One of the most unique Asian elephant facts is that they are the only species of elephants with subspecies. What it means to have subspecies is that they have subgroups within the species with different characteristics from each other. The subspecies of Asian elephants include Indian elephants, Sumatran elephants and Sri Lankan elephants.
Asian elephants help the environment.
There is more to elephants than meets the eye. What the general public fails to recognize is that Asian elephants play a crucial role in their ecosystems. These animals keep their habitats fertile, increase plant diversity and create homes for species of insects.
How do they do this? Through their dung! Elephants require a lot of food to power their bodies. They can consume up to 330 to 375 pounds of food in a single day. Although elephants eat lots of food, not all of it gets digested. The undigested food comes out in the form of dung.
Elephant dung is very fertile and contains seeds. So when an elephant moves through the grasslands or forests, they drop their dung along the way. This process helps distribute seeds from one location to another. Also, elephant dung provides shelter to some frogs and insect species.
Asian elephants are endangered.
Although Asian elephants are crucial to the environment, their numbers are decreasing. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has classified Asian elephants as endangered. These animals are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss, fragmentation, decreasing genetic diversity and human-elephant conflict.
Habitat loss and fragmentation have caused these elephants to lose their habitats. It has caused lots of conflicts between humans and elephants. These large animals can get into farmers’ crops or roam into villages putting both the lives of humans and elephants at risk.
Another reason for the decrease of the Asian elephant population is the possibility of a lack of genetic diversity. Since the number of Asian elephants is small, it runs the risk of becoming less genetically diverse, which might be a problem.
Support elephant conservation groups!
If you are looking for a way to save Asian elephants, support elephant conservation groups. There are many nonprofit organizations working to improve the quality of life for elephants in zoos and the wild. To learn more about elephant conservation in general, sign up for our newsletter. You’ll get exclusive elephant news and ways to support organizations like ours. Register or make a donation down below.