Elephants are the largest living land animals on earth. The largest recorded male weighed 24,000 pounds. After a 22-month gestation, a baby calf weighs about 230 pounds. Elephants can live for 50-70 years. The three recognized species of elephant are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Indian or Asian Elephant. All other species are extinct, most since the ice age. IUCN lists the Asian elephant as endangered and the African elephant as vulnerable.
Known for their memory and intelligence, Asian cultures hold the elephant as a symbol of wisdom. Elephants eat for up to 16 hours a day (from 300 to 600 pounds of food) and may sleep as little as 2 hours a day.
Poaching and loss of habitat are the biggest threats to elephants. Normal adult elephants have no natural predators, however lions can be a predator for calves and weak adults.