There are two kinds of elephants, the Indian
and African elephant. The African elephant is the larger of
the two and so is therefore the largest land mammal. The male
elephant is three to three and a half meters in length from
the head to the posterior, and it weighs about six tones.
The most outstanding feature of the African elephant's appearance
is its pair of beautiful ivory tusks which are rested on either
side of its trunk. Its tusks will continue to grow throughout
its whole life.
Long ago the elephants would grow tusks
that are up to three and three quarters and could weigh up
to forty one kilograms. Now an elephant that has tusks that
are over two meters long is considered good and lucky. The
elephant also has a trunk that it uses to senses things and
as a tool. The trunk is very flexible.
The female only measures two and three quarters
at the shoulder and her tusks are smaller than that of the
males. Female elephants have a gestation period of twenty-two
months. The calf that she will give birth to will be hairy
and weigh about ninety kilograms. The young elephants stay
with their mothers for a good number of years after birth.
Elephants are probably one of the most dangerous
animals on land, especially during injury. They are agitated
very easily, and therefore they become infuriated for no reason.
They are also believed to live for fifty to seventy years
and experience their first stages of puberty at thirteen years.
Elephants once occupied the tropical forests,
deserts, coastlines, high mountains, grasslands and woodlands.
Today they occupy less than 5.2 million square kilometers of land,
of which approximately 50% of it is in central Africa, 21%
in east Africa, 25% in South Africa and 4% in west Africa.
76% of all elephants live outside the boundaries of conservation
The approximation of the numbers of individuals
living is, in 1930, five to ten million, in 1979, about 1.3 million,
in 1992, about six hundred thousand and in 1991, between five hundred
and forty-nine thousand and six hundred and fifty-two.