The Asian or Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Asian elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia. Asian elephant is divided into four subspecies such as Sri Lankan, Indian, Sumatran and Borneo. Asian elephants have been very important to Asian culture for thousands of years — they have been domesticated and are used for religious festivals, transportation and to move heavy objects. The Asian elephant is found in India, Sri Lanka, China and much of Southeast Asia. The elephant is distinguished by its massive body, large ears and a long trunk, which has many uses ranging from using it as a hand to pick up objects, as a horn to trumpet warnings, an arm raised in greeting to a hose for drinking water or bathing.
Asian elephants differ in several ways from their African relatives. They are much smaller in size and their ears are straight at the bottom, unlike the large fan-shape ears of the African species. Only some Asian male elephants have tusks. Elephants are either left or right-tusked and the one they use more is usually smaller because of wear and tear. The Asian elephant has four toes on the hind foot and five on the forefoot. Led by a matriarch, elephants are organized into complex social structures of females and calves, while male elephants tend to live in isolation. A single calf is born to a female once every 4-5 years and after a gestation period of 22 months—the longest of any mammal. These calves stay with their mothers for years and are also cared for by other females in the group.
Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many years. It is this memory that serves matriarchs well during dry seasons when they need to guide their herds, sometimes for tens of miles, to watering holes that they remember from the past. They also display signs of grief, joy, anger and play. Recent discoveries have shown that elephants can communicate over long distances by producing a sub-sonic rumble that can travel over the ground faster than sound through air. Other elephants receive the messages through the sensitive skin on their feet and trunks. It is believed that this is how potential mates and social groups communicate.
The Jim Corbett National Park is a heaven for the adventure seekers and wildlife adventure lovers alike. Corbett National Park has captured the imagination of many with its diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. The natural uniqueness of the area was recognised long ago and so in 1936 Corbett attained the distinction as the first national park to be established in mainland Asia. Corbett National Park lies in two districts — Nainital and Pauri — in the hill state of Uttaranchal in northern India. It covers an area of 521 sq. km and together with the neighbouring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas, forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve over 1288 sq. km.
Its geographical location between the Himalayas and the terai, and the streams, rivers and ridges crisscrossing the terrain, present Corbett with a remarkable variety of landscapes. This vivid mosaic of habitats — wet and dry, plain and mountainous, gentle and rugged, forests and grasslands — supports numerous plant and animal species, representing Himalayan as well as plains kinds. The most famous of Corbett’s wild residents are the Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Elephant, but with about 600 species of avifauna Corbett is one of the richest bird regions of India.
Source: http://www.corbettnationalpark.in & www.wwf.org
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