Nature’s gentle beast, elephants are strong, intelligent, and full of emotions.
Weighing between 6,000-15,000 pounds (for the males; females are smaller), and with a lifespan of 70 years, their power can be seen instantly. However, even with a beastly stature, they are indeed passive creatures.
Forming deep family bonds, female elephants and their young usually live in groups called herds – ranging between 8-100 individuals – with the matriarch being the eldest and biggest female. Male elephants however, around the ages of 12-15, go on to live solitary lives or in small groups with other males. With their sensitive trunks, intelligence, and long-term memory span, elephants have been known to communicate over long distances, and have even shown signs of grief (while there may not be an actual “elephant graveyard”, elephants have been known to go through a mourning process during the death of a family member), happiness (a soft rumble is vocalized when a mother caresses her child), and play (their ears flap and their tails flick to show their playful attitude).
Representing luck and prosperity, elephants are honored in many cultures. However, with the killing of elephants for their ivory, which is exported mostly to Asia to make trinkets, the elephant population has drastically fallen.
According to defenders.org:
“At the turn of the 20th century, there were a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are an estimated 450,000 – 700,000 African elephants and between 35,000 – 40,000 wild Asian elephants.”
Because of their endangered status, elephants need our help. One way to help stop the slaughtering of elephants is to NEVER buy anything made of ivory, especially when travelling abroad. Additionally, check out sites like bloodivory.org to see what else you can do to end the ivory trade.
At the end of every “Creature Spotlight” there will be an informative and fun quiz all readers can participate in. The answer to each quiz will be at the end of Sunday’s post, “Veggie Food Guide”.
So, in honor of elephants, can you guess the correct answer?