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Eye Of The Elephant
Photograph - Original Fine Art Photography By Bob Orsillo
Eye of the Elephant - Original fine art black and white photography by Bob Orsillo.
(First published in RangeFinder Magazine 2009)
The Asian or Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas (African elephants belong in the genus Loxodonta) and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east.
Three subspecies are recognized � Elephas maximus maximus from Sri Lanka, the Indian elephant or E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra. Asian elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.
Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60�75 years. The species is pre-eminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.
Asian elephants are rather long-lived, with a maximum recorded life span of 86 years.
Contrary to popular belief, the Asian elephant has never been domesticated, in the sense that it has never been bred over multiple generations with selected traits specifically to serve human needs. This term is often conflated with taming or training, a process by which a wild-caught animal may be induced to accept human commands. Trained captive elephants have nevertheless been used in forestry in South and Southeast Asia for centuries and also for ceremonial purposes.
Historical sources indicate that they were used during harvest seasons primarily for milling. Wild elephants attract tourist money to the areas where they can most readily be seen, but damage crops, and may enter villages to raid gardens.
In general, Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and have the highest body point on the head. Their back is convex or level. Their ears are small with dorsal borders folded laterally. They have up to 20 pairs of ribs and 34 caudal vertebrae. Their feet have more nail-like structures than the ones of African elephants � five on each forefoot, and four on each hind foot
May 18th, 2012
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