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Largest living mammals “Elephants”

Largest living mammals “Elephants” : There are numerous types of elephants found in Africa and Asia, with three distinct species and at least three subspecies. The African Bush Elephant (a.k.a. African Savanna Elephant) is the largest of them all: It’s actually the largest living terrestrial animal on the planet. The African Forest Elephant was formerly considered a subspecies of the African Bush Elephant, but it has since been reclassified as a distinct species that was separated 2 to 7 million years ago. They’re smaller and have more rounded eras and hairier trunks than their cousins, with a dwindling population of around 100,000.

African and Asia elephants

African elephants live in sub-Saharan Africa, the rainforests of Central and West Africa and the Sahel desert in Mail, according to National Geographic. Asian elephants live in Nepal, India and Southeast Asia in scrub forests and rainforests. African elephants are the larger of the two species in the wild and can live up to 70 years while the Asian elephants can live up to 60 years.

Different physical features of Africa and Asian elephants

The ears of the elephants are larger and resemble the shape of the African continent, while Asia elephants have smaller, rounder ears, according to the San Diego Zoo. In the same way that humans tend to be right-handed or left-handed, elephants can be right-tusked or left-tusked. Both male and female African elephants have large tusks and two “fingers” on the end of their trunks to help them pick items up. Asian elephants have a single “finger” on the end of their trucks. But typically only male Asian elephants will grow large tusks, while the females and a few males have much smaller tusks called tushes that don’t always grow outside the mouth. Both species eat all types of vegetation, including a variety of grasses, fruits, leaves, bark and roots.  They spend about 16 hours eating, (75 to 150 kg) of food per day.

Sighted areas

Since the late 1980s, there has been a gradual increase in elephant population in the key elephant Protected Areas of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. The forest elephant is mainly found in Kibale National Park. Elephants have also been sighted in Sango Bay and are believed to be migrating and using habitats across the common international border of Uganda and Tanzania in search for water and forage.

Reproduction

Male and female elephants become sexually mature between 8 and 13 years of age. Male elephants will leave their herd around this time, as long as they’re able to find their own food and protect themselves. Females may not have their first calf until their middle teen years, while male may not father a calf until they are in their 30s, when they are large and strong enough to compete with other males, according to the National Zoo. Usually, only a single calf is born following a 22-month pregnancy. A newborn calf weigh between 150 and 350lbs. (68 and 158 kg) stands about 3 feet tall. Calves also tend to be hairy with long tail and very short trunks.

Behavior

Recent discoveries have shown that elephants can communicate over long distance by producing a sub-sonic rumble that can travel over the ground faster than sound through air. Other elephants receive the messages through the sensitive skin on their feet and trucks. It is believed that this is how potential mates and social groups communicate. Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many years. It is this memory that serves matriarchs well during dry seasons when they need to guide their herds, sometimes for tens of miles, to watering holes that they remember from the past. They also display signs of grief, joy, anger and play.

Physical

Elephants are incapable of jumping, but these massive mammals can run at a maximum speed of 25 miles (40 km) per hour. Yet even when they are moving at their fastest, they will keep at least one foot on the ground at all times. If you’ve ever seen photos of a baby elephant, you know that their bodies are covered in short hair. The growth of this hair reduces overtime, as they age. Unlike the hair on most mammals, the hairs on an elephant aid in cooling down its body in the hot climates of Africa and Asia.

Communication

Due to the high level of intelligence among elephants, they are one of the animals that seem to have a more sophisticated form of communication than others. The fact that they experience emotions that are very similar to those of humans means that they also show comfort through their form of communication. This is even more so when a baby is dead at birth or an elder member of the herd dies. The mothers are extremely affectionate towards their calves. They are often seen touching them with their trunks just like humans will pat a child on the head. The position of the trunk also is a sign of communication among them. When the trunk is raised it can mean that a male is standing his ground. It can be considered a threat if another male has his raised as well.

Feeding

The digestion process for the elephant is very different than that of other animals. It really isn’t understood why their bodies don’t digest more of what they consume. They need to consume lots of water and this is done through the trunk. They can consume up to 15 quarts of water at one time. During certain parts of the year, it is hard for them to find plenty of water though. Due to their large size, they can get food from the ground all the way up to high areas of trees. They can even use their trunks to reach fruits growing up there those other types of animals simply can’t reach. Elephants can spend up to 16 hours a day looking for food. They don’t seem to be in a hurry looking for it, and take their time grazing. One of the reasons why they have to consume so much food daily is due to their bodies.

Habitat

One of the reasons why elephants have been able to survive for so long in the wild has to do with their high level of intelligence. While they do have their natural habitat where they want to be, they also have the mentality to know when they have to move on and they have to adjust to new habitats inorder to continue to survive. They clear away trees and plants so that new forms of vegetation can grow there. It is due to human clearing away their natural habitat though that they are struggling out there in the wild. Even with some great conservation efforts in place they remain in serious jeopardy of losing their natural habitat.

Why are elephants being hunted?

The main reason why elephants have been hunted out there is for their ivory. This is worth a ton of money and so huge numbers of elephants were slaughtered in order to be able to cash in on such a business. With each tusk weighing up to 200 pounds, this was amazing. Early attempts to remove the ivory tusks and to leave the elephants alive didn’t work. The elephants were simply too aggressive for this type of process and it was too dangerous for humans to take part, they need to put an end to the availability of legal hunts for elephants. However, they are making plenty of money off of it due to people traveling from all over the world to take part in such adventures.

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