Asian elephant

The Asian elephant is one of the largest land mammals in the world. Some people believe that elephants feel joy and sadness. These wrinkly mammals live in groups headed by the oldest and largest female in the herd, called the matriarch. Asian elephants are the closest relatives to the extinct woolly mammoth, which lived thousands of years ago.

Scientific name: Elephas maximus
Size: 6,000 to 11,000 pounds (8 to 10 feet tall)
Habitat: grasslands in Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, and Sumatra
Diet: grasses, leaves, and fruits
Characteristics: large head, and smaller ears than the African elephant
Significance: endangered due to habitat loss and poaching for ivory tusks

Image credits: main image: courtesy of Jason Lelchuk, AMNH.