Indian elephant is the national animal of Laos. Historically, Laos has been known to be a land of elephants, thus sometimes referred to as Land of million elephants (Lan Xang). Together with Sumatran elephant, Sri-Lanka elephant and Borneo elephant, the national animal of Laos make up the Asian elephant subspecies. Laos’ national animal is mainly threatened by human interference with the habitats.
These animals are found throughout South-east Asia including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma and many other countries in the region. They like living in forests, plains, grassland savannas, woodlands and also areas with high density of shrubs. Such areas provide adequate grass and twigs, which is their main diet. The total number of the national animal of Laos is estimated to be around 20,000 individuals (A-Z animal, 2015). They are considered highly endangered by IUCN red list. This is mainly due to the destruction of their habitat by human beings as they encroach on forests. Due to their large size, they are not so much threatened by predators.
Facts about the National Animal of Laos
- Common name: Indian elephant
- Scientific name: Elephas maximus indicus
- Average weight: 5 tons
- Average length: up to 21 feet
- Habitat: broadleaf forests, plains, grassland savannas and woodlands
- Main predator: human beings
- Diet: grass and twigs
- Gestation period: 18-22 months
- Lifespan: 48 years
Unlike other elephant species, female members of the national animal of Laos do not have tusks. They have a tough skin which is somehow grey in color. To avoid being bitten by tsetse flies, the Indian elephant spends some time smearing its body with mud. Their tusks are very valuable, making it to be a target for poachers. In Laos, images and graphics of this animal can be found in stumps, shilling notes and other documents. This is because the Indian elephant is the national animal symbol of Laos.
The Lao government has spent a considerable amount of resources in the conservation of this animal. This is because, internationally, the Indian elephant is recognized as the national symbol of Laos.
- “Indian Elephant”-A-Z animals
- “All about the Indian Elephant”-World wildlife foundation
- “Asean countries’ animals”-sabaideesian.com