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Asian elephant

Did you know?

Elephas maximus

Asian elephants can eat up to 300 pounds of food in one day! That tends to wear out your teeth, so elephants have six sets of teeth that slowly grow and move from the back to the front of their mouth.

Meet our elephant

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
Asian elephants stand 7-12 feet high, weighing up to 14,000 pounds! They live in forests and grassy plains in India, Indochina, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China. Find our elephant in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.
Asian Forest Sanctuary
Meet the Keepers
A trunkful of stories.
Our elephant keepers give talks daily near the habitat. Ask them questions – they love it!
Elephant Yoga
Caring for Elephants
It's what we do.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium keepers and veterinarians are experts at providing the highest quality of care for our elderly Asian female elephant Suki.
Elephant Care

Meet Suki

Suki
Caring for an elderly elephant
Our keepers and veterinarians provide the highest quality of care for Suki.
Elephant Manager Shannon Smith has cared for Suki since she arrived here in the mid-1990s.
Daily routine
Includes treats.
Our elephant helps by presenting her feet for inspection and cleaning, lifting her trunk and other behaviors that allow staff to identify any medical issues.
Suki also participates in routine exercise and enrichment, and regularly receives treats like watermelons.
A safe home
For a long life.
As an AZA-accredited zoo, we meet high standards of elephant care. We were a leader in pioneering the protected – or restricted – contact and positive reinforcement in elephant care.
We are committed to providing the highest quality of care to Suki throughout her lifetime. This is her home and always will be.

Protecting Elephants

Killed for their tusks.

THE THREAT: Asian elephants are endangered in the wild. As a result of human poaching for their ivory tusks, as well as loss of their habitat due to human encroachment, their numbers are dwindling.

TAKE ACTION: Never buy wildlife products – especially ivory. Support laws that stop wildlife trafficking and catch poachers. This will help other species too, like rhinos, tigers and sharks.

Animal Stories

Zoo Bamboo

It’s one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. It’s used for buildings, dishes, musical instruments. It’s food for animals and people. And there are over 45 types at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. We’re talking bamboo, that leggy, elegant plant known for both lush garden vibes as well as gardener headaches if it gets … Continued

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Animals Cool Off in the Heatwave

As a powerful heat wave hits the greater Tacoma area with temperatures nearing 100-degrees, keepers at both Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash. and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, Wash. are finding ways to keep the animals cool. At Point Defiance Zoo, 2-month-old penguin chick Rio is just learning how to swim … Continued

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Bad luck for wildlife: 7 Animal Superstitions

Whenever Friday the 13th rolls around, even the least superstitious of us might look askance at a black cat or shiver at an owl hoot. But animal superstitions, although fun, can cause pretty bad luck for the wildlife who cross their paths. After all, we live in a world where 350,000 tourists can visit Scotland … Continued

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Who's nearby?
Love our elephant? Then look for our tigers! They’re just nearby, rotating with other animals through the habitats of the Asian Forest Sanctuary.