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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT


The African elephant in Uganda. 

African elephant is perhaps one of the world’s most emotive, iconic and a renowned largest terrestrial mammal in the world with an impressive record weight of up to 10 tonnes; male elephants also known as bulls can reach an average height of 4m. In addition its skull carries 25% of its total weight and also has the largest brain that cannot be compared to any other animal on planet. Its skull is exceptionally large to the extent that it supports its long muscular snout, two curved tusks, the teeth and jaws.

African elephants are differentiated by at least 2 species, including the small forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana Cyclotis) and gigantic African savanna elephants (Loxodonta Africana Africana) all scientifically known as Loxodonta with a height of 11 feet (females are smaller than males, with a length of up to 30ft from trunk to the tail and a weight of 6000-15000Ibs. The female elephant takes a gestation period of 22 months and life expectancy of 60-70 years than most human beings if not poached down or die pre-maturely due to natural calamities like diseases.
African elephants are also listed by IUCN as well as CITES (CONVENTION IN TRADE WITH ENDANGERED SPECIES) among the vulnerable animal species facing extinction; however in recent past the population of elephants has been on the rise since there is a strict ban against the trading of ivory and other elephant products. African elephants are family oriented mammals and form deep family bonds living in a tight matriarchal family group of related female / mother called a herd with complexity of social structure.
The family of elephants / herd is led by an oldest and largest female, often consisting of 8-100 members; depending on the terrain and family size, the dominant female elephant takes care of the herd for the rest of life whereas the males leave the group when they reach maturity stage of between 12- 15 years.
African elephants mainly express signs of great grief, joy, anger, play and they communicate through a sub sonic rumble that always travel for a very long distance on the ground at a faster rate than in air; while others receive the sound through their feet, trunks and their dashing shiny skin is also sensitive as far as communication is concerned.
African elephants feed on grass, leaves, bamboo shrubs, barks of tress, roots among others, and they are also known to feed on crops like bananas and sugar cane. An adult old elephant eats 75 to 150 kg of food per day. In Uganda, elephants are found in almost most of the parks, forest and other protected areas such as Kidepo national park, Murchison falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Bwindi national park, Kibale forest national park, and other places within Uganda.

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