Guardian of Ecosystem: Elephants are in Danger6 min read
All About Elephants – Gardener of Nature, largest of world and the kindest of all, elephants are the dearest of animal kingdom. With cultural significance in various civilizations, these largest land mammals of the world hold important position in forest. These forest defenders have proved their intelligence and emotional assistance while maintaining biodiversity of ecosystem throughout generations. Here we have brought an insight to elephant habitat facts and their journey to endangered ones.
Elephants belong to the family of Elephantidae species. They can be recognized from far away by their huge physique, long trunks and whitish strong tusks. These social animals are found in herds dwelling in their native regions of Sub- Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. On the basis of continent and their physical characteristics, elephants are recognized as “African Elephant” and “Asian elephants”.
Also Read: Smartest Animals in The World
All About Elephants – African Elephant Facts & History
African elephants differ from the Asian elephants in various ways. These African relatives have large ears, massive physique, and long trunk up to 7 feet. The most interesting African elephant fact for kids is their capacity of carrying water in their trunk. The trunk may see as another common part of a huge creature but the elephant trunk facts are as long interesting as their trunk length.
An average elephant can sucks more than 2 gallons or 7.5 liters of water at once. They use their trunk for various purposes like keeping their body cool, sprinkling dusty water, to pick objects, horn to trumpet warnings etc. Elephant’s trunk has fingerlike parts on the tip to help elephants picking up single leaves, small berries from ground and trees. Trunks are often used as snorkels in deep waters.
Trunks have more than 60,000 muscles with longitudinal and radiating sets. Four basic muscles- radial, longitudinal and oblique layers helps trunk for keeping activities of shortening, twisting, extending and bending. You know what’s unbelievable elephant trunk facts is that trunk can pick and hold up to 300kg of loads. Another elephant fact and information is about their beautiful tusks.
Unlike Asian elephants all the African male and female elephants have tusks. Elephants usually exhibits one strong tusk depends on the one they use more. Tusks are used as tool to dig water by elephants. This not only helps them to quench their thrust but also helps other animals to survive in dry season through this water. African elephant facts are way different from their Asian counterparts. African elephant has three toes on the hind foot and five toes on their forefoot. Both the species of elephant requires large area to live in where they roam in their groups.
All About Elephants: Asian Elephants Facts & History
Asian elephants are the brothers of African elephants living in Southeast Asia from India to Borneo. It’s sad that as their African counterparts, these are also asked as endangered animals by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). From last three generations, the population decreased by 50 percent.
Asian elephants are further classified in three sub-species: Sri Lankan elephant, Indian elephant and Sumatran Elephant. Among these Indian elephants are confined to larger regions of Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
Asian elephants are smaller than the African elephants. Ears are small with dorsal borders laterally folded giving straight look from the bottom part. Average weight of an Asian elephant is different in case of male and females. A female elephant weighs up to 2.7 tonnes while a male elephant weighs 4 tonnes. Another Asian elephant fact that differ them from African elephants are presence of five toes on forefoot and four toes on hind foot.
In case of tusks, female Asian elephant doesn’t hold any tusks. Some Sri Lankan male elephants also don’t show any tusks are famous with name of “filsy makhnas”. Skins of Asian elephants are found smoother and depigmented as compared to the African ones.
Their thick skin provides them protection against bites, bumps and poor weather conditions. Asian elephant fact shows presence of high intelligence and self-awareness among them. The large researches gathering elephant fact and information proves them being aware of emotions like grief, learning, mimicry, altruism, memory, compassion and language. Another glorious elephant fact for kids is about Indian elephant. Indian elephant fact says that they were considered to be the best war elephant in antiquity and found superior to North African elephants.
Elephants are herbivores and have the wonderful capacity to survive on the different food sources in different regions. Generally they live in the grasslands but are also found in the areas of Savannah deserts, forest areas, swamps wherever they can roam freely.
Not just to themselves they do well for environment wherever they roam. They create gaps in the vegetation allowing plants to grow and create pathways for other animals to use their forest activities unknowingly help the seeds dispersal, growth and boost the health of their ecological system.
Gestation Period of Elephants (All About Elephants)
Gestation period of elephant involves 22 months which is longest time in the animal kingdom. An average elephant can give birth for only 4 to 5 years. Baby elephant facts show that one out of every 100 elephant gives birth to twins. Fun elephant facts are that despite they are elephants female elephants are called “cows” and male elephants are called as “Bulls”. Baby elephants are known as “calf”.
The most interesting elephant facts and information about the birth is that about 99% of baby elephants are born during night. These little elephants at birth weigh up to 250 pounds and are three feet tall only. Curly black or red hairs on the forehead are often observed on the calves on birth.
Calves weighs up to 250 pounds and are three feet tall only.at the time of their birth. Just as all babies love, calves also continue drinking milk for up to 10 years. A cute baby elephant fact is that these small calves don’t know about the use of their trunks at start.
So, the calves swing their trunk to and fro and the fun elephant fact is that they even seldom step on their own trunk and used to fall. They learn to use their trunk by the age of 6-8 months.
All About Elephants: Endangered Species
Though elephants don’t have any predators, they are still captivated by threats all time. The foremost and ultimate threat to them is Humans and their greed. Elephants are hunted mainly for their ivory tusks. Illegal poaching has been carried out since prehistoric times. Elephant poaching facts states that due to the poaching total population of African elephants has been reduced from 1.3 million in 1979 to just 400,000 in the year of 1987.
Despite of several bans, these poaching activities has been still in practice and gifted these friendly animals status of endangered ones. If the endangered elephant facts are taken into consideration, presently only 34,000-54,000 Asian and 300,000-500,000 African elephants are left in the wild.
Moreover, the left loss has been made by the increasing human populations that have occupied the elephant habitat and throwing them in National parks and sanctuary. These reservoirs are though a good way to conserve these endangered ones but are not enough for these giant creatures who loves to roam and play in a wide area.
Elephants contribute a lot to the ecosystem than we can think. It is critical to save them for our ecosystem. Helping them to live is not just a way to save an animal from being extinct but to conserve the ecosystem, local animal communities, and natural resources to be with us throughout the future generations. Save Elephants! Save Environment!