The name “elephant” is originated from the Latin word “elephas”. Elephants belong to the family Elephantidae. Elephants are the biggest living being on earth and there are three identified elephant categories. They are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. They could be mostly seen in savannahs, forests, deserts, and marshes in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephants prefer habitats near water.
Asian elephants have small ears with convex or level backs while African elephants have big ears with concave backs. Common features of elephants include trunk, tusks, sensitive skin, massive legs, and tough. The trunk use for breathing, bringing food and water to the mouth and grasping objects. Tusks serve both as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Big legs help to carry their great weight. The ear flaps of elephants are to maintain a constant body temperature and help in communication. The core body temperature of elephants is averaged 35.9 °C (96.6 °F), similar to humans. Unfortunately, the great elephant only sees the size of its ears, when dying. The male African bush elephants are typically 23% taller than females, whereas male Asian elephants are only around 15% taller than females.
The elephants can consume as much as 150 kg (330 lb) of food and 40 L (11 US gal) of water per day. Everyone doesn’t know the fact that elephants rest under trees and doze off while standing during the day. Thus lay down to sleep at night and maximum sleeping hours are between 3-4 hours.
Elephants are considered to be keystone species. The keystone species include the spices with a larger effect on the structure of the ecological community. Without the keystone species, the ecological system will not be the same as it should be. The habit of uprooting trees and undergrowth of elephants can transform savannah into grasslands. They dig waterholes during drought to find water and other animals can use the same water pits. Further, they support seed dispersers especially in Asian forests, which require giant herbivores to transport large seeds. The ecological niche which is taken care by elephants cannot be protected by any other animal.
Elephants being an intelligent species shows empathy towards the loss of family members. It can live up to 70 years of age. Elephants use touching as an important gesture of communication. The Individual elephants greet each other by stroking or wrapping their trunks. Raising the heads and spreading their ears is common in agonistic situations. Further, shake their heads, snap their ears and throw dust and vegetation.
Elephants have the ability to make several noices. The trumpeting sound is made when excited at a distress or to show aggression. The roar or squeal sound is made during a fight and the bellowing sound is made by the wounded elephants.
Asian countries use elephants as working animals. Trained elephants are used in circuses to entertain people and in parades.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has identified African elephants are as vulnerable and Asian elephants as endangered. The vulnerable are the species likely to become endangered if the living surroundings won’t become favorable for the lives. The endangered are the species very likely to be extinct. It is obvious all the 3 categories of living elephants are in danger unless immediate actions are not taken for their protection.
One of the biggest issues for elephants is the poaching for the ivory trade. Other than that, deforestation has made them lose their habitats leading to conflicts with humans. Due to the ivory trade, elephants in the African region had declined drastically by the 20th century. With the ban of ivory trade in some countries worldwide, African elephants were saved. In Asian countries it is very less, to see killing elephants to get ivory. Thus, Asian elephants live in geographies with high populations.
Elephants are embodied in many cultures to show wisdom, power, loyalty, and leadership. Not only that they are used for art since the old stone age. Accessories with embodied elephants, elephant statues, and clothing are also very popular among the people who know the value of elephants.
We are happy to see that you are standing for elephants to be their voice!