As we all know, Southeast Asia is home to elephants. But not just any elephant though. The Asian Elephant is remarkably different from its African cousins. First of all, these Asian giants are somewhat smaller than their African counterparts, growing anywhere between 2 to 3.6 meters in height and weighing anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 kilograms (Africans on the other hand are about 2.2 to 4 meters tall and 4,700 to 6,050 kilograms in weight). They are still big creatures! Other differences include tusks (Asian females lack them or are very small), trunks (Asians have one semi-prehensile “finger” at the tip of its trunk as opposed to the African’s two) and four nails on each hind foot instead of threefor the African elephant.
Asian Elephants can live as long as or even longer than humans, with a maximum life span of 86 years. Despite this longevity, they are becoming endangered in the wild, with only about 50,000 or so left. A lot of the elephants you will see are actually domesticated, and this helps bring the elephant population up. Their ability to follow instructions makes them particularly useful for humans to carry heavy objects in the past. Much like the horse, elephants were also used during times of war in the past.
Learn about the life of a domesticated elephant and its mahout (trainer) with our Elephant Owner day trip experience in Chiang Mai.
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