Asian elephants are highly intelligent, social creatures, with complex communication methods and a hierarchical social structure within their herd. Typically, Asian elephants live in small herds of females and young males, often comprised exclusively of related elephants. Herd size depends largely on the ready availability of food and other resources, although it is common for a herd to be comprised of around 6-7 individuals.
Within the herd, each elephant will be aware of their status within the hierarchical order, with the most dominant role usually reserved for the oldest female. This female is known as the ‘Matriarch’ of the herd, and – though her role is less concretely defined in Asian elephant herds than their African counterparts – she will lead, defend, guide, teach, and punish the other elephants in her herd when necessary.