Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are a symbol of wisdom, royalty, and power in Indian culture. They can weigh up to 5 tons, stand up to 11 feet tall at the shoulder, and live to be 60 to 70 years old. As grazers, they can cross hundreds of miles a day and exert powerful forces on the environment around them. Asian elephants are known to be highly intelligent and are incredibly social creatures, related females form groups of 6-7 which are led by their eldest member, the matriarch. Communication is key within and between herds; elephants are able to convey meaning through vocalizations, tactile, visual and chemical cues, and even through seismic vibrations.
The IUCN lists Elephas maximus (Asian elephant) as an endangered species because their population is believed to have declined by 50% in the past three generations as a result of a degrading quality, and fragmentation of habitat. Much of this habitat loss and population decline can be attributed to expanding human populations and increased human – elephant conflict. Their current range places Asian elephants in contingency with the densest human populations of the world, populations that are still growing at a rate of 1-3% per year.