Inhabitant of the Asian jungles, it is strictly herbivorous and spends three quarters of its time eating up to 150 kg per day of over 100 different species of plants. It lives up to 70 years in social groups headed by the eldest female animal. After 21 months of gestation the female gives birth to a one hundred kg. calf. Habitat reduction and poaching, especially due to the ivory of its tusks, have made it a highly endangered species despite its worldwide protection. The international trade of elephants and products derived from them has been regulated by CITES since the 1990s, but these majestic animals continue to be illegally killed for their tusks.
WHO IS HERE AT THE BIOPARCO?
Sofia and Lakshmi, two Asian elephants, are present at the Bioparco. Sofia, originally from the Assam region of India, arrived at the Bioparco at the age of two, back in 1972. Lakshmi, on the other hand, is believed have been born in 1975 and arrived in 2013 following the seizure of a circus.
Sofia is very emotional, loves being caressed by those who take care of her and is often looking for attention, while Lakshmi, more reserved, is the dominant female and is very resourceful, self-sufficient and shows a certain autonomy in solving problems. Their diet is very varied and consists of about 80/100 kg per day of vegetables rich in fibre (hay, fresh grass, branches, leaves): vegetables such as carrots, chicory, lettuce, chard, onions, pumpkins and potatoes; fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, melons and watermelons, as well as boiled and pelleted potatoes (rich in vegetable fibre, fat, protein and vitamins). Above all, they adore the fresh branches of vegetation: they receive them at least four times a week!
The Bioparco participates in the conservation of elephants through the EEP programme for the species coordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza Ex Situ Programme) which includes several actions including captive breeding aimed at obtaining a stock of animals for future releases in the wild, public awareness and scientific research.