Asian Elephants

Our Asian elephants are great big characters, each has a different personality and we’d love you to get to know them.

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Our youngest elephant Nandita, was born in August 2015 to experienced mum Thi. We also have Hari, who was born to first time mum Sundara in November 2012.

Elephants are very intelligent and can live up to 70 years. Over time, we've built a fantastic relationship with our herd, always delighting in watching newcomers develop from mischievous teenagers into mighty adults.

Our bull elephant Aung Bo joined us in October 2012 and will hopefully play an important role in our conservation breeding programme.

We also have one other female, Maya – see how quickly you can pick her out. It won't be difficult, as she's a big attention seeker!

Big is a key word because Asian elephants can reach three metres tall. That means we give them lots of space in our Asian Forest enclosure.

In India and south east Asia where wild herds live, elephants roam large areas of scrub and grasslands.

For many years elephants were hunted and killed for their ivory tusks. Nowadays they face another equally dangerous threat to their survival because much of their natural homeland is being taken over by farmers and developers.

To help counter this we've set up an Asian Elephant Conservation Programme to figure out problem-free ways for elephants and farmers to happily share land.

Every time you visit us here at the zoo you help us to keep that programme alive and ultimately to reach our goal of protecting Asian elephants for future generations.


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Facts & Info

Interesting facts

Where they live India and Southeast Asia.
Habitat Scrub forest and grassy terrain.
Size Length: up to 6.4m
Shoulder height up to 3m
Weight Up to 5000kg
Threats Habitat loss due to logging, agricultural and urban development. Poaching for ivory.Conflict with humans – as their natural habitat is lost, more animals are wandering into farmed areas causing crop damage. Increasing numbers of people have also died as a result of elephant encounters. This has led to retaliatory hunting by some communities.

Species Information

Scientific name Elephas maximus
Order Proboscidea
Family Elephantidae
Genus Elephas
IUCN status Endangered
Roles in the zoo

Research (ex situ): This species is part of applied research that leads to evidence-based decisions regarding in-zoo management.

In situ Conservation Ambassador

Flagship species: This is a species acting as an ambassador for one of our conservation programmes in the wild.


Interdependence: This species helps demonstrate that all living things, including humans, live in ecosystems and depend on other living things for their survival.

Human Impact: This species helps demonstrate that human activities are causing serious environmental damage.

Partnerships: This species helps demonstrate that we work in partnerships with other organisations to conserve nature and natural resources.

Chester Zoo: This species helps demonstrate that as a charity Chester Zoo’s mission is to be a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide.

You! This species helps demonstrate that we can all make changes to help the environment and zoos can help inspire people to do this.

Husbandry Development and/or Skills Training: This is a species for which we’re developing particular husbandry methods to address an identified issue and/or helping to build staff capacity in specific husbandry or field conservation skills.

Pure Research: This species is undergoing clearly defined research that increases our knowledge of natural history, behaviour, ecology, population biology, taxonomy, disease.