***The opinions shared on this blog are mine alone and are not endorsed by the Kansas City Zoo
The Sumatran Elephant
I could go on and on about elephants. They are some of the worlds most fascinating and intelligent creatures. We don't have any Sumatran Elephants at the KC Zoo, we only have African Elephants.
Sumatran Elephants are the smallest of the Asiatic Elephant subspecies. They weigh from 6,000 - 10,000lbs. In contrast, African Elephants weigh 9,000-15,000lbs.
I hate to be a downer on these posts, but unfortunately these guys are highly endangered too, only around 2000 left in the wild. Just like the Orangutans and Tigers, they are threatened by deforestation. But elephants are eliminated mainly because they're considered so destructive by humans. WWF has a great article about using domesticated elephants to drive wild elephants away from populated areas, keeping everyone happy. http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/sumatranelephant/sumatranelephant.html.
Female elephants are very social. They live in family groups lead by a matriarch who keeps the herd moving from place to place to find food. Elephants are strictly herbivores, eating leaves, fruit, bamboo, ginger. But they eat about 200lbs per day. That's a lot of bananas. The matriarch knows where the fruit is going to be ripe, based on season, sunlight, elevation, etc. and leads the family to the best food.
Elephant's have the most amazing trunks. They are so articulate that they can pick up a single blade of grass but so strong they can lift a heavy log. At the Kansas City Zoo, our elephants have learned to paint. This is a form of enrichment that stimulates their minds and allows them to exercise their trunks.
If you have any questions about elephants, just ask.