Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Elephants of the African Savannah

The Elephants

Why are elephants so amazing animals? Is it because Elephants are large and gray and because they have big ears and long trunks as compared to the Asian elephants which have a different body shape? These beautiful dangerous animals have marveled people from centuries and are still having a great part in many parts of the world as some of the most revered animals by different people. While people might think that all elephants look the same, on a closer look there are may differences among the elephant community just like humans who come from different races and with different genetic traits, elephants possess unique habits and distinctive features that differentiate them .with other elephants from different regions or parts of the world. There used to be many kinds of elephants but with the ongoing habitat loss for these beautiful animals and luck or animal conservation and protection, though a lot has been done and is till being done for the plight of the elephants, for the moment, there are two different kinds of elephants: African and Asian.  People don’t know for sure by the turn of the century as to how many elephants will have been born or how many of them will have perished under the scorching climatic weather conditions and with the dangerous carnage and onslaught of the African elephants for its beautiful ivory utility in the world market and the prevailing economic conditions  backed by people with vested interest in the ivory trade as they take advantage of the volatile political situations in may of the newly democratic countries South of the  Sahara Desert.

 As far as the distinctive features of the African and the Asian elephants are concerned, due to the geographical location, many of these dangerous beautiful elephants have managed to cross over great continents. They have been tamed and many elephants have given off springs which have also given birth and a rise of different elephant features which are not of specific geographical location of Africa and Asia. On the other hand, many of the African elephants were born in captivity and while some were raised in captivity as well, one gets puzzled after seeing an elephant in the zoo only to be told that the elephant you see is not an American elephant, an Australian elephant or even a European elephant nor an Mexican elephant neither a Brazilian elephant.

Ways of distinguishing between an African elephant and an Asian elephant

The African elephants Loxodonta africana— are well known and are very distinctive when you see the African elephants as they are just too unique for their large ears. These African elephants mind you have ears which when you look closely, the African elephant ears are closely and almost shaped like the continent of Africa. People might wonder whether the Loxodonta Africana elephant ears are just a birthright or a birth mark for the African elephant but with nature, the African elephants were just born in Africa where they belong to roam the vast African jungles beautiful plains and vast arid and semi arid areas in search of water, pastures and their migratory routs as had been for decades.
As far as the elephant Turks are concerned, it’s strange to note that just like any other animals which have horns for protection and attacks against intruders and for survival. The Male African elephants and the female African have very nice visible tusks which come to use when need be. The beautiful African elephant skin is very wrinkly not as old as the old grand fathers  and mothers of our and not like any of the other tamed dogs which have wrinkles as far as different dog species are concerned.. When it comes to their body size these huge African elephants have walls of flesh and body mass mainly comprised of backs that are swayed. Whether its for the betterment for locomotion or for the sheer physic, the African elephant is just the perfect size which can display its truism when it comes to its massive size and strength as well. With all the perfection to crown it all, just like any other human being, being blessed with two hands is just one way of making work easy where as the African elephant with its massive size and with its six major muscles the African elephant at the end of its trunk has two finger like structure which works in helping these beautiful animals in pick and holding things up. While these are just simple part s or differences between and African elephants Loxodonta africana and the Asian elephant there is still yet a lot to learn about the African elephant
As these elephants for decades have been reduced to great numbers and at the moment, all African elephants Loxodonta africana are considered as endangered species.

Asian elephants the tamed less dangerous elephants

Why do they call it the Asian elephant?  Is it because these elephants were born in Asia or is it their ears as we had seen that the African elephant ears looked almost like the map of Africa. Well the Asian elephants Elephas maximus in fact have smaller ears as compared to the African elephants. Does that mean the Asian elephants cannot be able to hear properly or is it because the African elephants are accustomed to the extreme heat in the African Savannah climatic conditions? While different environmental conditions and the natural adaptation of these elephants, you find that they have well been adopting to their natural breading and feeding grounds and are well equipped to roam freely in their disposed natural habitat which has been their homes as far as these beautiful elephants have been on this earth.  It is strange to notice that just as the male lions allover the world have mane, the male Asian elephants are the only ones which have tusks. These tusks have acted as both an advantage and a disadvantage as well. As compared to the African elephant, both male and female African elephants have been hunted down because of their tusks where as in Asia the number of male Asian elephants has always been low due to poaching as a result of people wanting to have a piece of every ivory they can get hold of at what ever cost. Blessed with their natural skin which is not as wrinkly as the African elephant, you get that the beautiful Asian elephant has  only have one "finger" at the ends of its trunks where as their backs are dome-shaped. This has been used for all the amazing elephant safaris and trails in many of the Asian countries
 That being said you get that the number of female Asian elephant is just very high but with luck of male elephants, the number of elephants has always gone down as there has not been a continuation of generation as many of the bulls are always killed and the young elephants take a long time to father new baby elephants as well. Why is such an animal right being denied to these beautiful Asian and African elephants as well? Had people been crippled or part of their limbs amputated for the sake of economics and its economic value what or where would the world be going. With all these vested interest and instilled modern culture its about time that these remaining endangered elephants of the wild should be given a breathing space and to flourish once again as they used to roam the plains of the different sub continent.

The great elephant family
There is no relationship in the animal kingdom like the one you will ever find in the t elephant family. These beautiful Asian and African elephants live in an amazing elephant family bond. The Asian and the African elephant herds stay close together close which is the essence of their survival in the wilderness. The African and the Asian herds of elephants are usually made up of many elephants which are related and the females are the ones which are the head of the herds also known as the cows. These female elephants also have their own baby elephants and other grown up elephants as well. At the moment to see a great herd of elephant is just a thing of the pas as many of the elephant herds are just isolated with a few cows and their offspring.  As far as the elephant leadership is concerned just like in any wild animal which survives in the plain, survival for the fittest is the essence of the continuation of the species and as far as elephants are concerned, the leader of the elephant herd is called the matriarch. The matriarch is usually the oldest and most experienced female elephant in the herd. The female elephant of the herd decides when and where the elephant herd will eat, where the elephant herd will rest, and where the elephant will travel to look for food pasture and to quench their thirst of a dust birth or a swim.  The adult male elephants on the other hand are called bulls. As a matter of fact these adult male elephants rarely don’t live in the elephant herd. Once these huge male elephants become teenagers, they leave the herd. Only after these majestic elephants become adults will they make an elephant train to visit other herds in the forest and their natural habitat only for short periods of time to breed. The male elephants or bulls do not take part in caring for the little elephants when they are born or when they are young.

Elephants are large and gray and have big ears and long trunks, right? If all elephants seem the same to you, take a closer look.There are two different kinds of elephants: African and Asian. Here are a few ways to tell them apart.

African elephants Loxodonta africana— Have large ears that are shaped like the continent of Africa, both males and females have visible tusks, their skin is very wrinkly, their backs are swayed, and the end of their trunk works as if they have two fingers there to help them pick things up.

Asian elephants Elephas maximus— Have smaller ears, usually only the males have visible tusks, their skin is not as wrinkly, they only have one "finger" at the ends of their trunks, and their backs are dome-shaped.

The African Elephant and the Asian Elephant  Family
The African and Asian elephants live in close social groups called herds. A herd is usually made up of related females, called cows, and their offspring. The elephant  leaderd is called the matriarch. The matriarch is usually the oldest and most experienced female in the herd. She decides when and where the herd will eat, rest, and travel. Adult males, called bulls, don't live in a herd. Once male elephants become teenagers, the elephants leave the herd. Only after they become adults will they visit other herds, and that is only for short periods of time to breed. Bulls do not take part in caring for the young.

African elephant Baby  walk
There is nothing spectacular with elephants than when an elephant is born. At birth,  the other name for a baby elephant is called  a calf. This little tinny overgrown baby can be as tall as three feet (one meter) tall. While human being cry when they are born, a baby elephant will always be quite, The body is always  hairy with a long tail and a very short trunk. It uses its mouth to drink its mother's milk, so it doesn't need a long trunk to feed. Calves are clumsy at first with their trunks, but they learn to use them as they grow older.

Huge Elephant ears  perfect for the body.
With the sheer size of all the elephants, keeping cool is of the most importance. The elephant holding the world record of the animal having the biggest ears in the world, the elephant uses its large ears to keep themselves cool during hot weather along the hot Savannah lands. Elephants' ears are a little like air conditioners. As elephants flap their wet ears on a hot day, the blood flowing through the many blood vessels there is cooled. This in turn cools their large bodies.

Big appetites
Wild elephants eat all types of vegetation, from grass and fruit to leaves and bark—about 220 to 440 pounds (100 to 200 kilograms) each day. The elephants at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park eat less—about 125 pounds (57 kilograms) of food each day. Most of their diet is hay, herbivore pellets, and acacia browse. (The male African elephant at the Safari Park needs to eat 70,158 calories each day!) The elephants also drink about 30 gallons (113.5 liters) of water each day.

The biggest of all
The largest elephant on record was an adult male African elephant. It weighed about 24,000 pounds (10,886 kilograms) and was 13 feet (3.96 meters) tall at the shoulder! Most elephants don't get that large, but African elephants grow larger than Asian elephants.

Thick skin, soft heart
Pachyderm means "thick skin" and this term often refers to both elephants and hippopotamuses. An elephant's skin can be up to one inch (2.54 centimeters) thick on some parts of its body. Even though it's thick, an elephant's skin is also very sensitive. Elephants often spray themselves with water, or roll in the mud or dust for protection from sun and biting insects.

Tooth and tusk
Tusks are an elephant's incisor teeth. They are used for defense, digging for water, and lifting things. Elephants also have four molars, one on the top and one on the bottom on both sides of the mouth. One molar can weigh about five pounds (2.27 kilograms) and is the size of a brick! Each elephant can go through six sets of molars in a lifetime. When elephants get old, their teeth are sensitive, so they prefer to eat softer food. Marshes are the perfect place for soft plant food, so old elephants are often found there. Many times they stay there until they die. This practice led some people to think that elephants went to special burial grounds to die.

Elephant nose smelling the vars African Savannah
Th African elephant has a very unique nose. While the elephant's trunk has  both an upper lip and a nose, the African elephant trunk has more than 40,000 muscles in it. With all these over 40000 elephant muscles, the African elephant has six major muscles in its trunk. That's why the African elephant is able to use its trunk to hold, pull, push, and to use the trunk to suck in water and the m pour it in the mouth.. Remember the elephant trunk is so strong and agile and is you are caught with it then you just wish and pray for your days.

Elephant trumpets around the Savannah 
Elephants make many different sounds. Some sounds cannot be heard by people. They can use these sounds to communicate with each other over long distances. Ever had your stomach growl at an unfortunate moment? Well, stomach growls are a welcome sound in elephant society. Their stomachs make loud rumbling and growling noises that other elephants can hear, which seem to be contented sounds signaling "everything is okay."

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