Elephants are magically amazing beings .We come across them on Television almost every day and yet, they always manage to surprise us with something new. These gigantic mammals have an anatomical structure that is developed to improve their survival rate in their natural wild habitats. They do not have any primary predators as a result of their immense power and huge size. However, by slaughtering them for their ivory tusks and destroying their natural habitats, we humans have become their No.1 predators! These are the most important information that we ought to know about these animals:
1. Elephant Species
Although, scientifically, just two elephant species have been discovered, genetic testing has showed that there are a minimum of at least 3 elephant species. There is the African forest elephant (Biological name – ‘loxodonta cyclones’) , the Asian elephant (Biological name -‘alphas maximus’) and the savannah or African bush elephant (Biologically named -‘loxodonta Africana’). The Asian elephant has small ears and tusks and is the smallest of the all elephant species.
2. The Role Of Elephants In The Ecosystems
Elephants play a very crucial role in the African ecosystems. This is a fact that many people don’t know and understand. The reason they are considered the most important species in the African landscape is because they play a key role in maintaining the balance of all other species through the ecosystem. For instance, Birds and monkeys look for seeds and nuts in their excreta while dung beetles reproduce in these deposits and it also replenishes the soil.
3. Devastating Decline Of Elephant Population
Slaughter due to the demand for ivory coupled with taking over of their natural habitats for the creation of human settlement has led to a drastic decline in Elephant populations. A few decades ago, there was much better time when throughout the all African Continent, roamed numerous elephant hoards. In the mid 30’s it was estimated that about ten million elephants roamed the surface of the earth while now , there are merely around 300,000 left and this number is still declining very quickly.
4. Elephant Babies
Elephants, similar to human beings, are very social animals and live in benevolent family groups mainly lead by females. The primary matriarch female leads the herd and everywhere she goes; she is followed by the entire herd of elephants. Baby elephants are born blind and suck their trunk for comfort, in the same manner a human infant sucks it’s. They receive survival lessons from their mothers and other fellow experienced members of their herd. The mother elephant choose a few herd members whom she trusts to be her calf’s babysitter to look after it when she eats.
5 .Caring For Their Dead Like Humans
Video by Kruger National Park
Elephants, astonishingly similar to humans, are the only other creatures that perform rituals for their fellow deceased herd members. When a member of an elephant herd falls ill, other herd members bring it food and also try to comfort their fellow sick elephant. When an elephant dies, the members of its herd try to bring it back to life by giving it water and food. The moment they realize that there is no way to revive the animal and that it is really dead, a solemn silence presides over the entire herd. They dig a grave-like pit in which they place the dead and cover it with branches. They then stay by the grave for a while and sometimes, even for days. If one of the herd members had very close relationship with the dead elephant, it tends to become extremely depressed for days. There have also been some cases, where, elephants buried the dead humans they would find while wandering.