The African Elephant is the largest animal that walks the earth! They can weigh anywhere from 2.5 – 7 tons, they stand up to 13 feet tall and they are up to 24 feet in length. They have large ears that resemble the continent of Africa. Their ears play an important role — they radiate heat to help keep the elephant cool.
The African Elephant is well known for their large, white ivory tusks. An elephant’s tusks are actually just large teeth that protrude out of their mouth. The elephant’s tusks are an asset to them. Elephants often eat tree bark and they use their tusks to strip the tree of its bark. They are also used as a defense mechanism. Additionally, the tusks help to protect the elephant’s large trunk. The trunk is used for many things including, eating, drinking and breathing, to name a few.
African Elephants are often killed for their ivory tusks. The tusks are chopped off of the elephant, (in many instances while the elephant is still alive) and then sold to make trinkets. Both male and female African Elephants have tusks. Poaching has significantly impacted the number of African Elephants that remain. There is hope however as conservation efforts have led to a slow rise in the population. The endangered status of the African Elephant is now listed as vulnerable — meaning the population is increasing. This is very promising.
An African Elephants’ diet consists of tree bark, leaves, branches, bushes, grass, roots and fruit. They can eat up to 300 pounds of food in a single day. African Elephants have female led groups. The matriarch of the group is usually the largest and oldest female. African Elephants can live up to 70 years of age. The gestation period of an African Elephant is nearly 22 months.
There are many conservation organizations that are dedicated to saving this species from extinction. By joining one of these organizations you too can help save the African Elephant along with many other endangered species.
- African Wildlife Foundation
- World Wildlife Fund
- International Elephant Foundation