Elephant, Animal, Africa, Safari

Being mammals , humans tend to have more enthusiasm and concern for other mammals, especially the ones that are endangered. Firstly, what mostly differs mammals from other animals is the occurrence of vertebrates in their anatomy, and how the females produce milk to nourish the young, among other things. IUCN says there are approximately 1100 endangered or threatened mammal species, which makes roughly 20 percent of all mammals. Nevertheless, lets look at one of the most endangered species of these on our planet.

There are two kinds of elephants, the principal difference being the size, the African, which is larger, and the Asian. The African, of course, comes from Africa, and lives in all types of habitats, from dense forests, savannahs, through marshes, semidesserts, to grasslands and desserts. It feeds on a variety of plants, like grass, or leafs and twigs from trees, fruits when available. As a result of this healthy digestion, they live up to 60 years old in the wild, and even 80 in captivity. Their age can be determined by the length of time their grinding teeth continue. Without them, the elephant can’t chew his food, and will die.

The Decrease in the African elephants population is because of three different factors:
1) the killing of elephants for their tusks(ivory), which is a highly valuable resource. This is the most influential factor on the decrease of their population.
2)desertification, a major reason for the disappearance of not only elephants, but many other species also.
3) The latest factor, which has not been always around, the conflict between humans and elephants for land. This is a result of the gigantic growth of human population. Of course, there are quite a few different reasons, like the access to weapons, the apathy towards elephants because they sometimes destroy crops, untrained wildlife authorities and many more, but those three are the major ones.

The Asian elephants are smaller then their relatives in Africa. They live in higher areas and altitudes, like hills and mountains, even to 3600 m high, in habitats such as thick jungles or plains with grass. This is most likely since they are still to weak or young to contribute to the reproduction and bringing older females, which achieve their sexual maturity at the age of 9-12 decades. The females always live in family groups which consist of mother, sisters, brothers and immature males, which usually has about 30-50 members, even though there may be found groups with even 100. They feed on grasses, branches, bark, flowers, fruits, and they even dig roots such as bamboo.

Because of the technological advances in the 19th century, which were not likely here, but came from overseas, the population of the Asian elephants severely dropped. Their feeding grounds were destroyed or taken by humans, which is the biggest problem for the population. They were also killed because they destroyed crops, and for their tusks. The females don’t have some tusks, so they weren’t killed for this reason, but intense male hunting sometimes result in a disturbed and problematic female:male elephant ratio.

The Elephant

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