The Sumatran Elephant: A Pachyderm’s Plight
AP Environmental Science
Mrs. Bukis/ Mrs. Warner
26 June 2015
The Sumatran elephant is a critically endangered animal whose continued existence is being threatened due to conflict with humans. The Sumatran elephant’s scientific name is Elephas Maximus Sumatranus, and it is a subspecies of the Asian Elephant. The Sumatran elephant is in the kingdom Animalia, the phylum Chordata, the class Mammalia, the order Proboscidea, the family Elephantidae, the genus Elephas, and the species Elephas Maximus.
At 6,500 to 11,000 pounds, the Sumatran elephant is a truly massive creature. Even young elephants can weigh up to 1 ton (2,000 pounds). The females, called cows, are smaller than the males. Sumatran elephants stand 5-9 feet at the shoulder, and can be up to 20 feet in length. The average lifespan is 55-70 years. In contrast to the African elephant, the Sumatran elephant has smaller ears and a more curved spine. However, its ears are still large and provide it with excellent hearing (better than a human’s). The Sumatran elephant’s skin is leathery and grey-brown; it has lighter coloring than the Indian or Sri Lankan elephants and also has fewer areas of depigmentation. All Sumatran Elephants have large trunks, which they use to drink, smell, and collect food, as well as many other things. Their trunk has over 40,000 muscles and is their most flexible body part. Male Sumatran elephants also have tusks, which are