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    Posted March 30, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

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    The Forest Elephants of India


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     konacraig, of Orange County, California, took these images of elephants in the forests of India. 'The elephants tend to be very aggressive because they are wild, very protective of their young and willing to defend their territory,' he explains. Still, he really likes elephants. 'What I find really interesting is how the elephants operate like a family unit,' he says. 'The mother is very protective of their young, they are sad when they lose a family member and as such they are somewhat like people. They are also smart and remember how they are treated by people.' His third photo was selected as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day for June 14!
    - ssesha, CNN iReport producer

    For several weeks in March, 2012 I spent hours tracking and photographing Forest Elephants in India.
    The Indian Elephant is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to mainland Asia. Since 1986, the Indian Elephant has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations. The species is pre-eminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.

    Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and have the highest body point on the head. The tip of their trunk has one finger-like process. Their back is convex or level. Indian elephants reach a shoulder height of between 2 and 3.5 m, weigh between 2,000 and 5,000 kg, and have 19 pairs of ribs. Their skin color is lighter than of maximus with smaller patches of depigmentation, but darker than of sumatranus. Females are usually smaller than males, and have short or no tusks.

    As we watched several elephants come out of the forest, one charged our vehicle, only to turn away at the last minute. What an experience.
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