*facts and images collected from all over the internet
The African Elephant
1. It’s true that elephants never forget (sort of).
Elephants can remember the locations of water holes hundreds of miles apart, and return to them every year. Their brains are very advanced, like humans, dolphins and chimpanzees.
2. African elephants are the largest land mammals on the planet.
One of the largest known elephants was Jumbo, whose name is thought to be derived from the Swahili word for “boss” or “chief.”
He is the reason we now use the word “jumbo” to mean “huge.”
3. Elephants commonly show humor, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, tool use, playfulness, sharp learning abilities and frustration.
According to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, temper tantrums are common among baby elephants, who are known to throw fits by throwing themselves down into mud when upset.
4. Elephants demonstrate concern for members of their families and take care of weak or injured members of the herd.
They greet each other by hugging with their trunks.
5. No matter what you’ve heard, elephants don’t care much for peanuts.
6. Elephant herds are matriarchal. The oldest female elephant will decide where and when the herd moves and rests, day to day and season to season. She will only leave the group if she dies or is captured. Males leave the herd around the age of 12.
7. Elephants can have babies until the age of 50. The gestation period for elephants is 22 months. Female elephants have been known to induce labour by self-medicating with certain plants.
8. Baby elephants are initially blind and some take to sucking their trunk for comfort in the same way that humans suck their thumbs.
9. Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, joining only humans, apes and dolphins as animals that possess this kind of self-awareness.
10. Elephants are very good swimmers.
They move all four legs to swim and use their trunk to breathe like a snorkel in deep water.
11. As important an appendage as an elephant’s trunk is, it has no bones!
Its trunk, capable of lifting 700 pounds or plucking a single blade of grass, contains over 40,000 muscles, divided into 150,000 individual muscle units.
12. Elephants are herbivores and can spend up to 16-hour days collecting and eating tough, fibrous foods, most of which pass through their bodies undigested. All that undigested fiber can produce as much as 300 pounds of poop each day!
Some of the poop can be harvested to help produce sellable products.
13. Elephants are one of a few (possibly the only) animals who can understand human pointing, without any training.
14. The total global elephant population is currently estimated at 650,000, and they are very much in danger of extinction. The main risk to elephants is from humans through poaching and changes to their habitat.
Poachers in Kenya have enjoyed lenient sentences and few have been successfully prosecuted.
The global ivory trade was worth an estimated $1 billion over the past decade, with 80% of ivory from illegally killed elephants.
The street value of elephant ivory is now greater than gold, running to tens of thousands of dollars per tusk.