Class : Mammalia
2. Order : Proboscidea
3. Family : Elephantidea
4. Genus Species : Loxondonta Africana
5. Size : The African elephant males are 10 ft. in height from foot
to shoulder. The
females are slightly smaller. They can get 25 ft. in length with
a tail length of 3 - 4 ft.
6. Weight : On average, the male African male elephant weighs up
to 6 tons meanwhile the female elephant weighs up to 4 tons.
7. Description : The African elephant has ears that are large and
can reach a height of 5 ft. Their skin in grey and is loose and
wrinkly with little hair on it. The trunk is used for breathing
and ends in two lobes. It has very large feet that distribute this
enormous weight over a large surface area. Think soles on the feet
absorb shock and cushion legs when walking and running so well that
it barely leaves any tracks in the dirt. Males have huge tusks,
which are actually incisor teeth made of ivory that can measure
up to 5 feet in length. The elephant uses these tusks to dig for
food, clear debris and carry logs up to 1 ton in weight.
8. Life Span : 60 - 80 years
9. Reproduction : African elephants become sexually mature at 14
- 15 years of age. They will mate at any time of the year.
10. Gestation : 600 - 660 days
11. Habitat : African elephants prefer savannah, grasslands, where
their food is most plentiful. They also live in thick forests with
an abundant supply of food and a large amount of shade. Most parts
of Africa and south of the Sahara Desert are also places where the
African elephants are commonly found.
12. Diet : The African elephant is a herbivore that favors mostly
grass, leaves, twigs, branches and barks.
13. Predators : The elephant has no natural enemies. Fully-grown
elephants are so incredibly large they can crush most predators.
As a result, lions, hyenas and tigers attack only the young elephants.
Anyhow, the African elephant's main enemy is man. They are endangered
due to poaching as their ivory tusks are very valuable in the black
market. Hunting is banned, but because the laws are hard to enforce,
the elephants are still legally killed.
14. Endangered Status : Endangered
15. Special Features : Elephants are very intelligent animals. They
have shown very good problem solving skills. An elephant's large
ears amplify sounds, letting it hear sounds that other animals cannot.
Its sense of smell is thought to be superior to any other land animal.
It also has a very good sense of touch. For such a large animal,
the elephant is very deft, having the ability to balance on two
legs if necessary to reach leaves in a tree. It also shows incredible
balance when lifting large objects. It's sense of taste is much
like that of other higher animals. It is able to tell the difference
between food that tastes good and food that tastes bad, as well
as food that tastes preferable.
16. Social Organization : African elephants have a matriarchal society,
which means that the leader of the herd is an elder female. Male
elephants are actually more solitary in nature and usually join
a herd during mating season. The herd has a complex social structure.
Members communicate with each other using a combination of gestures
and sounds. For example, an elephant expresses anger by violently
beating the ground with its trunk. Elephants have shown a strong
sense of commitment to other members of the herd. They have been
known to stop and wait on a young elephant if it falls behind.
17. Conservation Status : Many national parks or reserves in Africa
have been established where the elephant habitat is protected. Many
people believe however, that the parks are not large enough and
are isolated from each other to allow elephant populations to recover.
Some countries are developing refuges linked by corridors to allow
seasonal migration and genetic exchange. Worldwide concern over
the decline of the elephant led to a complete ban on ivory trade
1990. Elephants have been placed on Appendix I of CITES, the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species, which means all trade
in elephant parts is prohibited. Some governments have cracked down
hard on poachers. In some countries, park rangers are told to shoot
at poachers on sight.
18. Behaviors : Elephants have strong family ties. The females and
young are social, living in groups under the leadership of an older
female or matriarch. Adult males are solitary, although they stay
in contact with the females over great distance, using sounds well
below the range of human hearing. Family groups communicate with
each other using these low-frequency vibrations.
Population Areas : Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic
of Congo, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau,
Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.