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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 unscheduled 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

Elephant Yoga and Apple Slices

Shannon Smith stands outside on a fall day, calling out encouragement. “Foot!” she requests. Across the yard, her “buddy” of 24 years slowly lifts a leg, then puts it back down. “Good!” exclaims Smith, and offers an apple slice. It’s exercise time at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Smith is leading Suki the elderly … Continued

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Cho Cho, Still the Oldest Siamang

How does it feel to be the oldest siamang? Well, for Cho Cho, snuggled up with his companion Dudlee on a crisp fall morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it seemed pretty cozy. This year Cho Cho is celebrating his 54th birthday – which makes him the oldest siamang on record in human care … Continued

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Clouded Leopard Conservation

Clouded leopards are endangered. Their tropical forests are being cut down for logging, human habitat and to grow palm oil, a common food product. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium plays a huge role in the conservation of clouded leopards in the wild. The Zoo is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) that keeps zoo … 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.