Asian elephants | WWF

Asian elephants

Voi Châu Á
Elephants are revered as an important cultural and religious symbol in Asia. For example, according to Hindu mythology, the gods (Dev) and the evil (Asura) had stirred the ocean to find the elixir of life which could give them an immortal life. In doing so, the nine treasure have appeared and one of them turns to be an elephant. In Hinduism, the elephant-head god, Ganesh, is the most important god and be honored first in all religious ceremonies. This god has known as the remover of obstacles.
Asian elephants are extremely sociable, forming groups of 6 to 7 related females that are led by the oldest female, the 'matriarch'. Like African elephants, these groups occasionally join others to form herds, although these associations are relatively transient. More than their two thirds of a day may be spent feeding on grasses, but large amounts of tree bark, roots, leaves and small stems are also eaten. Cultivated crops such as bananas, rice and sugarcane are Asia elephants’ favored foods. Because they need to drink at least once a day, the species are always close to a source of fresh water.

What are the main threats?
  • The continually growing human population of tropical Asia has encroached upon the elephant's dense but dwindling forest habitat. About 20% of the world's human population lives in or near the present range of the Asian elephant. Most of the National Parks and Reserves where elephants occur are too small to accommodate viable elephant populations. The conversion of forested areas to agricultural use also leads to serious elephant-human conflicts.
  • In Asian elephants, only males carry tusks and therefore poaching is aimed exclusively at males. Currently, due to the increasing demand of ivory, poaching of Asian elephants remains a serious problem in many countries. Moreover, poaching for ivory could also lead to the loss of precious genetic resources.
  • The capture of wild elephants for domestic uses such as tourism or labor has become a considerable threat to wild populations in which numbers have been seriously reduced.

Read more about the Wild Asian Elephant in Vietnam on the Story of Jun.

What is WWF-Vietnam doing?

Along with efforts in the restoration of forests, home of elephants and other wild animals, WWF is working in some projects to improve capacities for official rangers and implementing Asia Wild Elephant conservation project (funded by International Investment Bank) at Yok Don National Park in monitoring and evaluating the population of elephants in Vietnam’s forests. 

Read more about the Wild Asian Elephant in Vietnam on the Story of Jun.

Asian Elephants

	© Nguyễn Viết Thụ/ TT Bảo Tồn Voi
Scientific name: Elephas maximus spp.
Status: Endangered (IUCN A2c); CITES: Appendix I
Height: 2-3.5 m (79 – 138 inches)
Weight: about 5,000 kg (11,023 lbs)
Habitat: scrub forest, favoring areas with grass, low woody plants and trees

Elephants are the largest terrestrial animals living on Earth today. An elephant can live up to 80 years and pregnant cycle is 22 months, the longest pregnant time among animals living on Earth. In fact, full-grown elephants have no natural enemies other than humans who poach them for ivory.