This is how long elephants live and what is shortening their life expectancy.

Updated: How long do elephants live?

Elephants are one of the most beloved animals in zoos and the world. You can see them in zoos and safaris. Although there is a lot of love for these animals, they are also at risk of being lost. 

Asian elephants are endangered - this means they are at high risk of going extinct. On the other hand, African elephants are vulnerable - meaning that they are at risk of being endangered. 

Elephants face threats that put them at risk of being lost forever. We want to answer a few questions like how long do elephants live and what are elephants’ threats. 

How long do elephants live

As stated above, elephants are at risk of being lost. Currently, an elephant living in the wild can live up to be 70 years old. Next to humans, elephants are one of the longest living land mammals. The longest living mammal is not on land but in the ocean. The bowhead whales live for 200 years. 

Although elephants can live up to 70 years, there are other factors to be considered. African elephants have a median of 56 years in the wild. On the other hand, Asian elephants have a median of 41 years. 

Researchers have found that elephants in the wild and zoos have different lifespans. National Geographic reports that elephants in protected African and Asian areas live longer than elephants in zoos. Female elephants in zoos only live for 19 years. 

What shortens the lifespan of an elephant?

How long do elephants live depends on the threats they face that shorten their lifespan. Elephants in the wild run the risk of losing their lives due to poaching or human conflicts. Elephants in the zoo, however, run the risk of not being self-sustaining. 


In the wild, elephants are in danger of getting poached. Both male and female African elephants have tusks, but only male Asian elephants have tusks. Poachers hunt down elephants to kill them for their tusks. These tusks are then traded illegally in international markets. On average, 200,000 elephants are poached every year. 

Elephant-human conflicts

Elephants and humans can live in harmony with each other. However, there are instances when they can have conflicts. With the rise of deforestations, elephants are faced with limited spaces and can wander into human spaces. This can lead elephants to have conflicts with humans. Both humans and elephants run the risk of losing their lives due to habitat loss. 

Not self-sustaining in zoos

In zoos, elephants have been struggling to reproduce. The numbers are quite alarming, infertility rates have gone from 22 percent to 45 percent over seven years.  Captive elephants do not get as much exercise and have a high-calorie diet while in the zoo, this plays a role in their disrupted ovarian cycle

How can we protect elephants

Elephant conservation is more important than ever! Elephants play an important role in their ecosystems. They dig holes for water, and as a result, this helps provide water for other animals. Elephants eat a lot during the day, and when they eat vegetation, it allows for new plants to grow and expand. 

You help save elephants by supporting our elephant research. At For Elephants, we find the best elephant conservation strategies for elephants in the wild and zoos. If you would like to contribute, you can donate or purchase our apparel to raise awareness today! 

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