Asian Elephant Facts
Sacred but exploited, the Asian elephant has been worshipped for centuries and is still used today for ceremonial and religious purposes. Not only is it revered for its role within Asian culture and religion, it is also a key biological species in the tropical forests of Asia.
The Asian elephant is the largest terrestrial mammal in Asia. It is smaller than the African elephant, with relatively smaller ears. Asian elephants have a single "finger" on the upper lip of the trunk, while African elephants have a second on the lower tip.
A significant number of adult males Asian elephants are tuskless, and the percentage of males carrying ivory varies by region (possibly reflecting the intensity of past ivory hunting), from only about 5% in Sri Lanka to 90% in south India.
Asian elephants keep their ears in constant motion in order to radiate the heat they generate and therefore cool themselves. The species are reported to have well developed hearing, vision, and olfaction, and are also fine swimmers.