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All About Elephants

Elephants are also a part of our natural heritage. As long as humans have walked the planet, they have been part of our art, our cultural history and the fabric of life. The gentle giant is under huge threat.......

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Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth, and they're one of the most unique-looking animals, too. With their characteristic long noses, or trunks; large, floppy ears; and wide, thick legs, there is no other animal with a similar physique

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You can tell a lot about an elephant by looking at their tusks! Elephant tusks never stop growing, so enormous tusks can be a sign of an old elephant. Both male and female African elephants grow tusks, but only male Asian elephants grow them. In spite of the 1989 international trade ban on ivory sales, the illegal and legal hunting and poaching of elephants for their tusks, hide, meat, and fur have been a large contributor to the decline of elephants, especially in Africa. Asian elephants are also poached, and since only males have tusks, this also leads to a shortage of males in the breeding population and a lack of genetic diversity.

There are three different species of elephant – the African Savannah elephant, the African Forest elephant and the Asian elephant. Elephants are known for their large ears, tusks made of ivory and their trunks – which are actually a fusion of their nose and upper lip.

Sadly, elephants are in trouble. Many are killed by humans for their ivory tusks, because they’ve come into conflict with communities or simply for sport. There are far fewer Asian elephants (which are categorised as Endangered) than there are African elephants (listed as Vulnerable – at risk of becoming Endangered). Asian elephants also face threats from tourist attractions where people pay to ride on their backs or watch them paint pictures using their trunks. 

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Things You Might Not Know About Elephant's

Her's some interesting elephant facts and trivia!

  1. The Elephant is the only mammal that can’t jump.

  2. Elephants spend between 12 to 18 hours eating grass, plants and fruit and can eat anywhere from 100 – 1000 pounds of vegetation in that period.

  3. In a day, an elephant can drink 50 gallons (200 litres) of water.

  4. Elephants can swim – they use their trunk to breathe like a snorkel in deep water.

  5. Male elephants are called bulls and females are called cows.

  6. An elephant creates about one tonne of waste per week, but which actually keeps the soil fertile and a great method of tree seed dispersion.

  7. Elephants also dig waterholes and create footpaths, literally changing the landscape around them!

  8. The elephant's closest living relative is the rock hyrax, a small, furry herbivore native to Africa and the Middle East. Other animals closely related to elephants include manatees and dugongs.

  9. The intestines of an elephant may be 19 meters in length, or more than 60 feet long.

  10. In Mount Elgon National Park in Kenya, a group of elephants use their tusks to mine for salt in underground caves! They feel their way around with their trunks and eat the salts by breaking them off with their tusks.

  11. The memory of elephants is legendary, and for good reason. Of all land mammals, elephants possess the largest brains.

  12.  They have the ability to recall distant watering holes, other elephants, and humans they have encountered — even after the passage of many years.

  13. An elephant’s tooth can weigh as much as three kilograms.

  14. Elephants transmit their wealth of knowledge from generation to generation through the matriarchs, and this sharing of information has been beneficial to the creatures’ survival.

  15. Elephants have a great sense of hearing and the ability to send vocalizations over long distances.

  16. An elephant’s pregnancy lasts for 22 months.

  17. Elephants are highly social and intelligent creatures, and they demonstrate behaviours we humans recognize as compassion, kindness, and altruism.

  18. Filled with over 40,000 muscles, an elephant's trunk is powerful and extremely sensitive. Elephants use their prehensile trunks to smell, eat, breathe underwater, make sounds, clean themselves, and defend themselves.

  19. Elephants have “fingers” at the tips of their trunks — African elephants have two and Asian elephants have one — that allow them to pick up tiny objects. Extremely dexterous, elephants can form a joint with their trunk to pile up small materials like grains.

  20. An Elephant’s average lifespan is around 60 to 70 years.

  21. August 12th is World’s Elephant Day.

  22. An elephant’s heart average weight is around 27 to 46 pounds.

We know that elephants are sensitive souls, with strong bonds to their family members, a need for comfort, and a long memory. So it should come as no surprise that elephants who experience tragedy, like witnessing a family member being killed by poachers, have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Calves orphaned by hidious poachersand their actions to the herd will often show PTSD-like symptoms that can continue decades later, even after they've been placed into the safety of protected reserves.

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