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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.

Discover elephants

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 ours in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.
Asian Forest Sanctuary
Meet the Keepers
A trunkful of stories.
Our elephant keepers give a talk at 1pm every day near the habitat. Ask them questions – they love it!
See daily schedule
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 two elderly Asian female elephants, Suki and Hanako.
Elephant Care

Meet our elephants

Hanako
Suki
Caring for elderly elephants
Our keepers and veterinarians provide the highest quality of care for Suki and Hanako.
Elephant Manager Shannon Smith has cared for Suki, 54, and Hanako, 55, since they arrived here in the mid-1990s.
Daily routine
Includes treats.
Our elephants help by presenting their feet for inspection and cleaning, lifting their trunks and other behaviors that allow staff to identify any medical issues.
Suki and Hanako also participate in routine exercise and enrichment, and regularly receive 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 and Hanako throughout their lifetimes. This is their 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

Browsing the Bamboo

When you think ‘edible gardening,’ you usually don’t imagine growing banana trees for elephants. But Bryon Jones does. The lead horticulturalist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has created an entire garden devoted to plants that zoo animals can munch, nibble or chew. It’s usually hidden from public view. But on this Sunday’s free garden … Continued

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Meet Kazu the tapir calf!

UPDATE: Kazu made his public debut Aug. 30. He and Yuna are now viewable in the Asian Forest Sanctuary late morning-early afternoon on weekends. Trotting over green grass. Figuring out stairs. Swimming. A brand-new, exciting world for Kazu the tapir calf is in store this weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, as the seven-week-old … Continued

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Fixing a tiger tooth

If you’re an apex jungle predator, it’s pretty important to have strong teeth. So when Kirana, one of the four Sumatran tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, needed some work on a fractured canine last week, she had a team of 12 veterinarians, veterinary dentists, technicians and keepers to take care of her. “Can … Continued

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