African Elephants

African elephant with treeAfrican elephants are the world’s largest land animal.    They can weigh over 8 tons, and stand over 10 feet tall at the shoulders.

A healthy adult African elephant has no natural predators thanks to their formidable size and tusks.  However, that does not mean that a hungry lion or hyena will not try to take a young calf.  To protect their young, elephant females, or cows, live in herds ranging from 10- 45 individuals.  Males, or bulls, live either in herds made up of males, or solitary.

African elephants eat large amounts of grass and foliage every day so that they can maintain their enormous size.  They gather their food with their mobile trunks, which they use like a hand.  Elephants play a huge in the ecosystem of the African savanna.  For one, they help spread grass seeds through their droppings.  They also help maintain hard soil by packing it down as they walk.  Despite their huge bulk, elephants are nearly silent walkers thanks to their fatty feet.

baby-aelephant-1African elephants have one of the longest gestation periods of any animal on earth.  It takes 18 months for a elephant calf to develop.  After it is born, a baby elephant will stay with it’s mother for about four years.  During this time, it will learn to forage, defend itself from predators, and how to socialize with other elephants and be part of a herd.  Elephants have glands behind the eyes that emit oils in breeding season or when the animal is distressed.  Elephants are very social animals.  If an individual is isolated for long periods of time, they become very depressed and can even die from lonesomeness.tusky

African elephants have been on earth for over 5 million years.  African and Asian elephants are the last members of the elephant family, which spans back over 55 million years.  There were about 10 million elephants living in African by the year 1700, but that number has fallen in recent years, and for one reason.  The ivory trade has had over 9 million elephants exterminated in all of Africa, just for their tusks.  Poachers kill the elephants for their tusks, which they sell on the Asian Black Market.  The tusks are carved into jewelry and statues for decoration.  96 elephants are killed every day for their ivory.  In the next 10 years, African elephants could be extinct in the wild.  Lets not let this iconic specie of animal die off because of human greed.  Say no to ivory, and together, we will save the African elephants.