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African Elephant

BY EARTHFIRST

It’s estimated that approximately 20,000 Elephants are killed every year to supply the illegal ivory trade (IFAW).

African Elephants once numbered in the millions across Africa, sadly by the 1980s their populations were severely devastated by habitat loss and poaching, and have dwindled down to an estimated 450,000-700,000.

Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups. The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd, called a matriarch. Herds consist of 8-100 individuals depending on terrain and family size. When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Males leave the family unit between the ages of 12-15 and tend to live solitary lives or live temporarily with other males.
Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many years. It is this memory that serves matriarchs well during dry seasons when they need to guide their herds, sometimes for tens of miles, to watering holes that they remember from the past. They also display signs of grief, joy, anger and play.

Elephants have an important role in the ecosystem because they help maintain suitable habitats for many other species in Savannas and forests. In thick tropical forests they create clearings and gaps in the canopy to encourage tree regeneration.

Over the last 40 years the WWF has set up programs to conserve forests, savannas and Elephants.

What can we do to help Elephants?

  • Don’t purchase products made from Elephants including: ivory jewellery, souvenirs, wallets made from elephant leather or elephant hair bracelets.
  • Adopt an Elephant- http://www.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/Pygmy-Elephant.aspx?sc=AWY1100WC900


Want to know more about Elephants? Visit these sites...

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