African elephants are the largest land animals not only in Africa, but in the world. These creatures are known for their unique body features, their special social behavior with humans, and their threatened place is in the animal kingdom. African elephants are vital because of their background in the animal kingdom and their ability to adapt, but they are at risk of extinction.
These unique mammals have extraordinary body features. African elephants are from the Elephantidae family and their scientific name is Loxodonta Africana. The body features of an African Elephant include their ivory tusks. Tusks are used for fighting in a battle, feeding on trees, and digging. They have enormous ears to protect themselves from excessive radiation from the sun and their trunk, which is a long extension between the upper lip and the nose, is used for communication and for grabbing objects. African elephants have brownish-gray skin; their height can go up to 25 feet, and they weigh from 5,000 to 14,000 lbs.
There are interesting facts about these creatures. According to National Geographic, “did you know that the African elephant is taller than its cousin, the Asian elephant?” (NG) Another detail about African elephants is that they can live from 60 to 70 years; they share the same emotional characteristics as humans, they’re herbivores, and they have great memory. There are 2 types of African elephants. The Savanna African elephants are larger than Forest African elephants because of their ears, size, and the shape of their tusks. One last interesting fact about these creatures is that they are not easily tame, and their group name is a herd. When it comes to having a baby elephant, the mother elephant, also known as the cow, gets pregnant for 22 months. At birth the baby elephant weighs about 200 lbs and is 3 feet tall.
The natural habitat for the African elephant depends on the climate and civilization. African elephants live and roam in African countries such as Zaire, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Usually, they roam in great distances in search for food, water, and peace without the disturbance of any species including humans. According to Elephants, A Cultural and Natural History, by Reinhard Kunkel, these large mammals also “live in mountainous and desert climates in North Africa” (Kunkel).
African elephants are still traveling around the lands of Africa, but they are endangered in the animal kingdom. African elephants are at risk of disappearance because of poaching and habitat loss. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “African elephants are killed by poachers for their ivory tusks” (WWF). The tusks of an elephant are made out of ivory, which poachers use to make weapons and items such as piano keys and jewelry. If poachers continue to kill elephants for their body parts, then the population of elephants will decrease and the elephants’ chances for survival are a minimal. African elephants are also dying out because of the increasing lack of habitat and vegetation. In Africa, bush fires and droughts force animals, including African elephants, to search for vegetation and food. African elephants play an important role in the savannah and forest society, and plants depend on their seeds traveling through the elephants’ digestive system before they can sprout. If plants die out because of natural disasters, then the elephants will have no chance for survival. To stop this problem, African elephants are kept in captivity in certain African wildlife foundations and international wildlife preserves.
Unfortunately, the largest land animals in the world are still an endangered species, but they are crucial in the animal kingdom because of their ability to adapt and unique body features. African elephants may be in wildlife preserves, but they are still at risk of extinction because of poachers and natural disasters.
1.) “African Elephants.” National Geographic. 1995-2006. National Geographic. 1 Nov. 2009. (web)
2.) Groning, Karl, Martin Saller. Elephants: A Cultural and Natural History. Konemann. 1999.
3.) “African Elephant.” World Wildlife Fund. 22 Jun. 2009. World Wildlife Fund. 1 Nov. 2009. (web)