Elephants are long-lived mammals but suffer from teeth erosion as a type of mechanical senescence despite having as much as six sets of molars in a lifetime. Although both sexes may become sexually mature at about 9 years of age, males do not normally reproduce until they are about 15 years old. Full size is attained at about 17 years of age [ ]. There is much speculation and anecdotes about the longevity of elephants with reports of animals living more than 80 years.
Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) longevity, ageing, and life history
Wild elephants in protected areas of Africa and Asia live more than twice as long as those in European zoos, a new study has found. Animal welfare advocates have long clashed with zoo officials over concerns about the physical and mental health of elephants in captivity. British and Canadian scientists who conducted the six-year study say their finding puts an end to that debate once and for all. Obesity and stress are likely factors for the giant land mammals' early demise in captivity, she said. Until these problems are resolved, the authors are calling for a halt to importing wild elephants and breeding them in facilities unless an institution can guarantee long, healthy lives for its elephants. The study will be published tomorrow in the journal Science. Mason and colleagues looked at data from more than 4, wild and captive African and Asian elephants.
Wild Elephants Live Longer Than Their Zoo Counterparts
Elephants are known for their majestic size and resilience, but also for their long lives. In fact, elephants live longer than any other land mammal, except for man. Unfortunately, a number of factors affect the life span of elephants, both in captivity and in the wild -- and humans play a big part in that. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. The truth, however, is that few reach that age.
The elephant is Earth's largest land animal, although the Asian elephant is slightly smaller than its African cousin. Asian elephants can be identified by their smaller, rounded ears. An African elephant's ears resemble the continent of Africa.