(Elephas maximus sumatranus)
The Sumatran elephant is the smallest of three Asian elephant sub-species, the other being the Sri-Lankan elephant (largest) and the Mainland or Indian elephant. Sumatran elephants are a critically endangered species with estimated numbers of just over 2,000 individuals left in their natural habitat. They can stand anywhere up to three metres in height and weigh up to a whopping five tonne.
Sumatran elephants are found exclusively in the lowline forest and gentle hills of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their grey colouration can assist in providing camouflage in their shady habitat.
Solely herbivores, the Sumatran elephants' dexterous trunk and large molars enable them to gather and process up to 5-10% of its body weigh in vegetation per day, including grasses, leaves, fruit, and bark. Elephants do not drink with their trunks; they use them as 'tools' to drink with. Consuming up to 200 litres of water each day, a Sumatran elephant will fill its trunk with water, and then pour the water into its mouth.
The female Sumatran elephant reaches sexual maturity between 8-13 years of age. She will give birth to one calf after a gestation period of 19 - 22 months. At birth, the calf weighs between 70-100kg. The herd will help the mother protect her vulnerable, newborn calf from predators. A female calf will remain with its natal herd for the rest of its life while a male calf will leave the herd at sexual maturity.
Sumatran Elephant Profiles
G'day! My name is Raflesia and I am the youngest member of the Sumatran elephant family here at Australia Zoo. I am a very smart elephant; I enjoy learning and like to show off. I am always front and centre whenever there is something happening as I am a real attention hog. Although I am the youngest animal in the group, I am one of the most confident and will bravely check out anything new in my environment.
My best friend is Megawati, but I also really enjoy spending time with my other two herd mates, Widya and Christina. I love banana and dates, but truthfully, I am happy to eat just about anything! My herd mates and I are here at Australia Zoo to be ambassadors for our wild cousins. Deforestation and habitat loss have taken us to the brink of extinction. The good news is, my wild friends and I are now a protected species and with everyone working together our future is looking so much brighter. You beauty!
We expect our beautiful Sumatran elephants to be adventuring in their world-class Elephantasia by Easter 2020, complete with a huge swimming pool, fountain, plethora of plants, trees and grassland.