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The three giants of Asia

Fee-fi-fo-fum, the three wise giants of Asia smell a blog being written about them! If you’ve taken an Elephant Safari around Asia, you’ll know these herbivorous gentle giants by their true names – Elephas maximus sumatranus a.k.a the Sumatran Elephant, Elephas maximus indicus a.k.a the Indian Elephant, and Elephas maximus maximus a.k.a the Sri Lankan Elephant. Also making a trumpeting part of Sri Lanka’s “Big Five”, games drives in the island’s dry zone National Parks guarantee an encounter with elephants amongst other Sri Lankan wildlife. Here are some bite-sized facts about these giants:


The Sumatran Elephant

Known as the smallest subspecies of the Asian Elephant by size, but the largest mammal existing on the island of Sumatra, Sumatran elephants dine big as well and deposit seeds from the plants they eat, contributing to a healthy forest ecosystem. These giants share their home with many other endangered species, such as the Sumatran rhino, tiger, and orangutan, as well as countless other species that all benefit from a healthy habitat thanks to these mega herbivores!

The Sumatran elephant life span is 55 – 70 years, they weigh approximately 5 tonnes with a towering height of 5ft – 9ft, and are mostly found in broadleaf moist tropical forest in Sumatra, Borneo and Indonesia. With a population of 2,400 – 2,800, they are considered critically endangered.


The Indian Elephant

Do you know how much 19 hours of munching per day results in? 220 pounds of dung per day! The Indian elephant’s main diet is grass, but large amounts of tree bark, roots, leaves and small stems are also part of the menu. On cheat days (whenever the opportunity presents itself) they go for bananas, rice and sugarcane!

The Indian elephant life span is 55 – 70 years, they weigh approximately 5 tonnes with a giant height of 6ft – 11ft, and are mostly found in rainforests as well as tropical woodlands and dry forests in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal and Myanmar. With a population of 20,000 – 25,000, they are considered endangered.


The Sri Lankan Elephant

Wildlife in Sri Lanka is abundant, especially on a Big Game Safari where elephants are observed in the wild, ethically. Elephants in Sri Lanka are famous for outnumbering the rest of the other Asian giants per square kilometre, with the island holding the record for the highest density of elephants in Asia! The Sri Lankan elephant herd size ranges from 12 – 20 individuals or more, and is led by the oldest female or matriarch. Since the 19th century, the Sri Lankan elephant population has fallen by 65%, which lead to the national law carrying the death penalty for poaching.


The Sri Lankan elephant life span is 55 – 65 years, they weigh between 4,400 and 12,000 pounds, and is 8ft – 10ft tall. Endemic to Sri Lanka, you can find them in the rainforest as well as lowland dry forests. With a population of 2,500 – 4,000, they are considered endangered.