Elephants are the largest living terrestrial mammals. Their
big ears serve to dissipate body heat and to brush away insects
from their eyes. The upper incisors form tusks and the trunk,
or proboscis, has two fingerlike processes at the tip. The
trunk is extremely sensitive to touch and can be used to feel
and manipulate and grasp objects and materials with great
accuracy, precision and strength. The trunk and the nostrils
of elephants is used for breathing, eating, and drinking.
They water into the trunk, and then squirts it into their
mouth. With the tip of their trunk, elephants separates bits
of grass, leaves, and fruit and then places the food into
their mouths. Elephants may weigh from 2,800 kg to 6,300 kg;
males weigh more than females and African Forest Elephants
are bigger than Bush Elephants.
Bush Elephants are active both at night and during the day.
They sleep at anytime of the day by leaning against a tree,
lying down, or standing. They enjoy bathing, or dipping their
nostrils in water holes. They aspirate water into their trunks
and then blow it into their mouths or onto their body.
feed on grass, tree foliage, bark, twigs, herbs, shrubs, roots,
and fruit. Altogether, elephants consume more than 225 kilograms
(500 pounds) of vegetation a day, spending hours eating it.
Due to their large size, African Bush Elephants must drink
occurs throughout the year but a female will only give birth
once every four years. A large family group is protective
of infants and the young.
Elephants are social creatures; they assemble in-groups ranging
between 7-70 individuals, depending on the quantity and quality
of available food. The more food that is available, the more
elephants will be in a group. There will also be a large number
of elephants together when there is a drought. Elderly females
are the heads of the groups. They decide when and where to
move, and they also maintain peace and order within the group.
Elephants may migrate long distances in search of food and
water. They exhibit a wide variety of vocalizations, in particular
those at very low frequencies, to which they are unusually
sensitive. They also exhibit gestures or activities that are
Bush Elephants are distributed throughout Sub-Saharan, except
the C and W coast of Africa, including 30 countries from Senegal
in the west to Somalia in the east. They live in many kinds
of habitats; deep forest, open savannas, wet marches, thornbush,
and semidesert scrub.
African elephant populations have been seriously depleted
by overhunting. Hunters and poachers greatly value the ivory
in the animals' tusks. To prevent the extinction of these
animals, ivory trading was banned in 1989 and the animal declared
endangered by the United Nations' Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species. Unfortunately, wildlife reserves
are set up to save the elephants have largely been unsuccessful,
as overpopulation occurs and more habitat is lost.