Interesting facts about African Elephants
African elephants are the largest animals on Earth. They are easily identified by their trunk, which is utilized for communication and object manipulation. Their wide ears enable them to vent excess heat. The upper incisor teeth in African elephants mature into tusks and continue to grow throughout their lives.
Elephants are a symbol of strength and power in Africa. The religious significance of the animal is largely totemic; so much, that many tribes of Africa had the notion that great leaders were reborn as elephants.
The Elephant in South Africa’s coat of arms represents wisdom, power, moderation and eternity.
These animals, like humans, are sociable creatures who live in tiny family groups led by an elderly matriarch and multiple generations of female relatives. Males are usually solitary after they reach maturity, but they may dwell in small groups of three or four bulls. They look after weak or damaged individuals and even appear to mourn the loss of deceased friends.
These African elephant species are of two types, the Savanna Elephants and the Forest Elephants
1. Africa Savanna elephants:
Savannah elephants also called Bush elephants, are bigger in size and have curved tusks. They are the largest elephant species and the largest terrestrial mammal on the planet. The huge ears of Savanna Elephantswhich are curved outwards are used to identify them; the ears also help them dispel excess heat, hence the flapping of their ear. Their front legs are substantially longer than their hind legs.
The Savanna species of Elephants can be found in 23 nations. They inhabit a wide range of habitats; including open and forested savannas, as well as desserts and woodlands.
They are largely found in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa.
Each family unit normally consists of 10 females and their calves. The bulls only interact with these herds during mating season. Several family groupings typically band together to form a “clan” of several hundred individuals, led by a female matriarch. Savanna elephants graze on grasses because of their habitat, but they also eat a broad range of plants and fruits. The elephant’s diet changes depending on the season. During the rainy season, the elephant eats more grass than during the dry season.
Attractions of Savanna Elephant
Savanna elephants help to maintain savannas and open forests by lowering tree density. Many other plants and animals in wooded regions would perish if they were not present.
Threats of Savanna Elephant
Savanna elephants contribute to the maintenance of the savannas and open woodlands by reducing tree densities. Without them, many other plants and animals would not survive in the woodland areas.
2. Africa Forest elephants
They are darker and have straighter, downward-pointing tusks, in addition to being smaller. African forest elephants are the enigmatic cousins of African savanna elephants. They live in West and Central Africa’s lush rainforests. Because of their penchant for deep forest environments, typical counting methods like visual identification are not possible. Forest Elephants’ population is often counted using “dung counts,” which are based on feces density and dispersion. Their tusks are straighter and point downward. Their ears are more oval-shaped. The Elephant’s sizes and forms of the skull and skeleton are also different. Forest elephants breed at a far slower rate than savanna elephants, therefore they cannot recover as quickly from population declines.
African woodland elephants feed on leaves, grasses, seeds, fruit, and tree bark in family groups of up to 20 members. They play important roles in the dispersal of many tree species because forest elephants’ diet is dominated by fruit; particularly the seeds of huge trees, which have a high carbon content. As a result, they are known as the “mega-gardener of the forest”. They gather at mineral-rich waterholes and mineral licks located throughout the forest to augment their diet with minerals.
Attractions of the Forest Elephant
Forest elephants live in deep woods and are necessary for the germination of many rainforest plants. The plants’ seeds do not germinate until they have passed through the elephant’s digestive tract.
Threats of Forest Elephant
The species is largely endangered by habitat loss and fragmentation, and as a result, there has been an increase in human-elephant conflict.
Distinctions between the two species
The size and form of the skull and bones differ between the two species as well. The bush elephant is considered endangered and the forest elephant is classified as critically endangered. They face threats from habitat loss and fragmentation. They are prone to poaching for the illicit ivory trade in various range nations.