Facts About elephants

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Elephants originate from the order Proboscidea and are  known as pachyderms, meaning ‘œthick-skinned’ in Greek. There are only two species of this order in existence today; the African and the Asian elephants. Both of these varieties are considered the largest land animals on Earth. The Asian elephant is smaller compared to the African elephant. All African elephants possess tusks while amongst Asian elephants only some males will have tusks.

Fact 1.  A matriarch leading a community of females and calves marks the elephant social group. Females give birth every 4 to 5 years with a gestation period of 22 months, the longest for a mammal.

Fact 2.  The habitat requirements of elephants are huge in terms of land and resources. The requirements of elephants have become a constraint in countries with scarce resources and often they have to compete with the needs of the local population.

Fact 3.    An Asian elephant communicates through noises such as rumbles, growls, bellows, and moans which have the capacity to travel distances of more than a mile.

Fact 4.  Elephants are intertwined within Asian culture and religion.  In Hinduism, the elephant god is called Lord Ganesha, believed to remove obstacles and bring prosperity.

Fact 5.  Widespread poaching of African animals has decimated the population from 1.3 million circa 1979 to half that figure a decade later.

Fact 6. Elephants are utilized for transportation and heavy labor in Asia. They are also the main form of transportation during auspicious religious and ceremonial occasions in Asia.

Fact 7. The Asian elephant is categorized as endangered on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals.

Fact 8.  In 1989, due to a worldwide ban on ivory trade imposed by CTES, elephant poaching activities reduced considerably, and the black market trade for ivory declined. It has been reported by the World Wildlife Fund that a lack of enforcement by African and Asian countries are contributory factors towards the extinction of elephants.

Fact 9. Ivory has found a big market in China, and most of the illegal trade operates on the route from Africa to China. Economic prosperity and the expansion of China’s middle class supported by a traditional preference for ivory has skyrocketed the price of ivory to $1,000 per pound in Beijing.

Fact 10. Fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants are left in the wild, and environmentalists warn they will become extinct without protection.

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