- On August 6, 2019
- In safari
WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ELEPHANTS
Elephants are the largest land animals on earth and they are mainly in Africa and Asia. Currently there are three recognized species which include; the African bush, African forest and the Asian elephant.
The African bush and forest elephant have a gestation period of 22 months, the Asian elephant goes for 18 to 22 months because they defer from continents. Furthermore their life span also defers whereby the African bush elephant has a lifespan of 60 to 70 years, Asian elephant 48 years. The African bush elephant holds 5400kgs and the African forest elephant holds 2700kgs.
Currently, Botswana has by far the highest number of elephants in the whole world whereby there are over 118,736 wild elephants whereas Kenya which is the most famous safari destination has 26, 427 elephants, Uganda has 5000 elephants. In Uganda they are mostly found in the landscapes of Kidepo, Murchison falls, Semuliki, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park. It’s amazing how Uganda can have the largest land mammals yet its crossed by the equator the altitude is erred ton very high. The Asian elephants also referred to as the Asiatic elephant is distributed throughout the Indian continent and south eastern Asia.
For feeding, elephants spend 12 to 18 hours feeding; adult elephants can eat between 200 to 60 pounds of food a day and also drink up to 50 gallons of water a day. They eat tough fibrous foods and most of it passes through their bodies undigested and due to this an adult elephant can produce up to 300 pounds of dung each day. They use their tusks to dig for water and they are of very high importance while feeding. And while going off to rest, they lie down to sleep at night for 0.67 to 2 hours at a time.
While communicating, elephants use visual signals and many others touch, they make sounds for signaling something to the whole herd of elephants. However they have poor vision only at a short distance. They can also communicate in a low rumble that can travel as far as 6 miles. This can easily be heard by other elephants at a far distance through the ground.
However elephants can at times be aggressive especially if their peace is disturbed or if any harm is put on their young ones. When it comes to baby elephants, the adults are too protective with them because they stay with the young ones for the first couple of months and feed on breast milk for 2 years or longer. During musth (periodic condition in male elephants characterized by aggressive behavior accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones,). They can also be aggressive if injured, sick or harassed.
As for baby elephants while giving birth to them, the mother elephant is helped by the herd and the baby moves immediately after birth because elephants never stay in one place. Baby elephants stay with their mother for the first couple of months, feed on their milk for 2 years or longer. They usually leave their mothers at the age of 15 or 18 years most especially the bulls. The adult elephants can get aggressive.
Elephants are one of the most endangered species in the world today through poaching which is illegal and destructing their habitat. They are illegally killed to take their ivory and tusks and the amount of money is attracting. This brings about the fact that elephants could go extinct in a lifetime. The Asian elephants are most endangered compared to the African elephants because they are smuggled across the border into Thailand and other Asian countries. Urbanization, industrial development, agricultural expansion in countries like India and Indonesia has greatly threatened the Asian elephants’ habitat because they have invaded them. They are used as slaves to work and also carry heavy materials most especially in the Asian countries. Over the last decade, elephant numbers have dropped by 60% and could mostly extinct by the end of the next decade if something is not done.
However, elephants are tourism magnets and are keystone species; they also maintain the biodiversity of the ecosystems. Some elephants are put in wildlife reserves for conservation and tourists visit these reserves hence bringing in more foreign exchange to the country. They also help in research most especially by students that carryout research and study on wildlife. Therefore their existence greatly helps in achieving this research. Elephants’ dung is used to make paper, it is also known to clear sinuses and cure bleeding noses, their waste products are known for traditional healing.
Much as elephants are large and huge, surprisingly they can run 20-40km per hour over short distances and can also move really fast. They can walk up to 50 miles but mostly spend their day by walking near a water source so they can re-hydrate themselves when tired. Though they can walk up to 9 miles a day.