Monday, May 19, 2014

THE ELEPHANT


“There are about 25 to maybe 35 thousand African Elephants every year that are getting killed for their tusks” (M. Sanjayan, Senior Scientist at Conservation International). This is a startling statement, and a sad one to begin this week’s post, but it’s true. Unless we face the truth about what is happening to the Elephant, we will never be able to do something about it.


So, this week’s post is dedicated to the magnificent Elephant. Intelligent, sensitive, and social, the Elephant is the largest land mammal. It is an iconic symbol of unassailable strength and survival. The Elephant has played a prominent role in African and Indian mythology and culture. It is also a part of our literary heritage, representing the wise and irrefutable peacemaker, the settler of disputes. I for one would not like to see the Elephant disappear from the wild. They are beautiful creatures, worthy of our respect and admiration. 



According to the IUCN*, the African Elephant is vulnerable and its worst enemy is greed. The Asian Elephant, according to the IUCN*, is endangered and its main threat is a combination of habitat destruction and poaching, again, human greed. From what I have read, the poaching levels in Africa have reached unusually high levels.  Authorities there have not seen levels this high in more than thirty years. We must realize that the African problem is a complex one, and we cannot fully cover its intricacies here, but suffice it to say that there are a number of organizations that are attempting to protect the Elephant and to make it unprofitable to trade their tusks.  Many countries have passed laws that make it illegal to import ivory. To read more about the illegal wildlife trade, which includes Elephants, you can visit this site:



There are two main species of Elephant. There is the African Elephant, which consists of two species, the Savannah Elephant and the Forest Elephant. And there is the Asian Elephant, or Asiatic Elephant, which it is sometime referred to in literature. It’s easy to tell them apart by simply looking at their ears. The ears of the African Elephant are much larger than that of the Asian Elephant, which is pictured below.

The Asian Elephant has much smaller ears than its African cousin.

Let’s look at a few comparisons between the Asian and African Elephants.


ASIAN ELEPHANT
AFRICAN ELEPHANT
Height
6.5 to 11.5 Feet
11 Feet
Weight
+- 11,000 pounds
+- 12,000 pounds
Length
21 Feet
19-24 Feet




Photo Credit: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/mammals/elephant/Elephantcoloring.shtml




The above picture shows you the tips of the trunks. The trunk on the left, marked “A,” is that of the Asian Elephant, and one the right, “B,” is the African Elephant. At the end of an Elephant’s trunk is what is commonly referred to as ‘fingers.’ As you can see from above, the Asian Elephant has one ‘finger’ and the African Elephant has two. The African Elephant can use his two fingers to pinch and pick up objects. The Asian Elephant cannot do that, instead he wraps the end of his trunk around objects.



Asian Elephants live in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, and southern China.




Photo Credit: http://www.hannahandhersisters.com/leah/Elephants.html



The below map shows the distribution of the African Elephant.



For all the children out there who read my blog, you can go to the following two sites to read more about Elephants.



 This week I found two videos that I felt my readers, young and old would enjoy. Since I couldn’t decide between them, I am posting them both. I know you will like them, and so will the kids. The first one is about the first few hours and days of a baby elephant named, Maya. 


In this second video, we will see a man who dedicated to filming Elephants. You will see a group of Elephants crossing a river, and you will witness a very protective mother come to the rescue when her baby gets caught in the current. The Elephants in both of these videos are African Elephants. 




There is so much more to tell you about elephants, but we’ll save that for another post.

Once again, my sincere thanks to Arkive.org for some of the pictures and information. 

Thank you for visiting and please stop by again next week for another 'unusual animal' post. Thank you very much for spending some time thinking about this incredibly fascinating mammal. 

Enjoy!
Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, Where Endangered Animals Heroes Roam the Pages!






No comments:

Post a Comment