ABOUT SRI LANKAN ELEPHANTS
A subspecies of the Asian elephant known as the Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus Maximus) is found only in Sri Lanka. Elephas maximus has been classified as endangered by the IUCN since 1986 because the population has decreased by at least 50% over the last three generations, which are believed to be between 60 and 75 years old. It is largely threatened by the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of its habitat.
Carl Linnaeus first characterized the Asian elephant as Elephas maximus in 1758, giving it the scientific name Elephas maximus Maximus.
They can be found mostly in the north, east, and southeast of Sri Lanka, where there is a big concentration of elephants. It is possible to see elephants in a variety of protected locations like Udawalawe, Yala, Wilpattu, Lunugamvehera, and Minneriya National Parks as well as in the wild. In Asia, Sri Lanka is thought to have the highest concentration of elephants on the continent. The conflict between humans and elephants is on the rise as elephant habitat is converted into human settlements and permanent farming.
“A subspecies of the Asian elephant known as the Sri Lankan elephant is found only in Sri Lanka. Elephas maximus Maximus has been classified as endangered by the IUCN since 1986. It is largely threatened by the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of its habitat. In Asia, Sri Lanka is thought to have the highest concentration of elephants in the continent.”
Most Asian elephants weigh less than African elephants, and their heads are the tallest. There is a finger-like process on the tip of their trunk. They have a convex or flat backside. In general, females tend to be smaller than their male counterparts. Males with tusks can be found.
Between 2 and 3.5 meters (6.6 and 11.5 feet) tall and between 2,000 and 5,500 kilograms (4,400 and 12,100 lb), Sri Lankan elephants are the largest subspecies. They have 19 ribs. On the ears, face, trunk, and belly they have greater patches of depigmentation that are darker than those on the indicus and sumatranus. Only 7% of males are born with tusks. The tusks of an adult elephant can measure up to six feet in length. It can be as heavy as 35 kilograms (77 lb). The tusks of the Raja (elephant) were discovered to be the longest (1913 – 16 July 1988)
Analyses of allozyme loci but not of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences provide only limited support for the Sri Lankan subspecies’ identification. It was spotted in Udawalawe National Park in July 2013 by a Sri Lankan elephant dwarf. Despite its height, it had shorter legs than other bulls and was the primary aggressor in a fight with another bull.
“Sri Lankan elephants are the largest subspecies of an elephant. They have 19 ribs, a convex or flat backside, and a finger-like process on the tip of their trunk. Only 7% of male elephants are born with tusks. Sri Lankan elephant dwarf was spotted in Udawalawe National Park in July 2013.”
HABITAT AND GEOGRAPHIC RANGE
There are still large populations of elephants in Sri Lanka’s dry zone in the north, south, and eastern parts of the country, as well as in northwestern, north-central, and south-eastern Sri Lanka. The Peak Wilderness Sanctuary is home to a small remnant population. The country’s humid zone is devoid of them. Only Wilpattu and Ruhuna National Parks are larger than 1,000 square kilometers (390 square miles). It is difficult for elephants to cover their complete home ranges in many locations that are less than 50 km2 (19 sq mi). For elephants, the Mahaweli Development Area now includes 1,172 square kilometers (453 square miles) of contiguous habitat thanks to the linking of several national parks and nature reserves, including Wasgomuwa National Park, the Flood Plains National Park, the Somawathiya National Park, and the Trikonamadu Nature Reserve. The elephant’s range does, however, expand outside the boundaries of designated protected areas in roughly 65% of the total.
“The Mahaweli Development Area includes 1,172 square kilometers of contiguous habitat for elephants thanks to the linking of several national parks and nature reserves. Only Wilpattu and Ruhuna National Parks are larger than 1,000 square kilometers (390 square miles). The elephant’s range does expand outside the boundaries of designated protected areas in 65% of the total. The Peak Wilderness Sanctuary is home to a small remnant population.”
HOW MANY ELEPHANTS ARE AVAILABLE IN SRI LANKA?
There are an estimated 7,500 wild elephants in Sri Lanka. Killing them is illegal, but the animals often come into conflict with rural communities. Elephants are revered in Sri Lanka but some farmers view them as pests according to BBC.
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