Consumer reviews and reports on scam companies, bad products and services
vivint
Vivint APX Alarm Alarm company used unethical sales practices to entrap first time homeowners into 5 year contract. Provo, Utah
12th of Sep, 2011 by User321426
I have contacted Vivint over four times regarding the actions of Vivint salesman Brennen Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay made material misrepresentations about your product in order to induce my wife and I to purchase a home security system. On July 28, 2007, Mr. Lindsay came to our door. He claimed that under a limited offer, we would receive free security equipment in exchange for placing an Apx Alarm sign in our front lawn. He explained that the company’s goal in making this special offer was to market the company in a new sales territory. Mr. Lindsay promised that we could have the equipment installed, sign up for a month of service, then cancel service and keep the equipment. He stated that there was no long-term obligation. He claimed that we would benefit from this deal because our home’s value would be increased simply by having the equipment installed. He stated we could leave the equipment in the home at the time of sale and the buyers would have the equipment for themselves, ready to use. We asked him several times whether there was any commitment to continue service beyond the first month. We also asked him whether we could keep the equipment after we cancelled service. He stated that the equipment would remain as our property without obligation. Mr. Lindsay repeatedly reassured us that there was no commitment beyond the first month and that we could cancel the service as soon as one month after the transaction, with no cost to us. Shortly after the first month was up, I called your customer service to cancel service. The person I spoke with informed me that we could not cancel our service at that time and that, in fact, we had committed to a 60-month term. I also was told over the phone, that if we were to sell our home, we would have to take the equipment with us. Mr. Lindsay never mentioned the obligation of a 60-month term and he did not go over the details of the contract with us. My wife and I were disturbed to learn that your company’s agent would so egregiously take advantage of us. Mr. Lindsay misrepresented material facts in order to induce us to purchase the security system. We would not have purchased the system if Mr. Lindsay had not made these misrepresentations. This is not an isolated incident and reflects fairly on Vivint's business practices.
Comments
4585 days ago by Turk
Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct.[1] Three species of elephant are generally recognized today: the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant and the Asian elephant[2] (also known as the Indian elephant). However, some researchers postulate the existence of a fourth species of elephant in West Africa.[3] All other species and genera of Elephantidae are extinct. Most have been extinct since the last ice age, although dwarf forms of mammoths might have survived as late as 2, 000 BCE.[4] Elephants and other Elephantidae were once classified with other thick-skinned animals in a now invalid order, Pachydermata.
Elephants are the largest living land animals on Earth today.[5] The elephant's gestation period is 22 months, the longest of any land animal.[6] At birth, an elephant calf typically weighs 105 kilograms (230 lb).[6] They typically live for 50 to 70 years, but the oldest recorded elephant lived for 82 years.[7] The largest elephant ever recorded was shot in Angola in 1956. This male weighed about 24, 000 lb (11, 000 kg), [8] with a shoulder height of 3.96 metres (13.0 ft), a metre (yard) taller than the average male African elephant.[9] The smallest elephants, about the size of a calf or a large pig, were a prehistoric species that lived on the island of Crete during the Pleistocene epoch.[10]
Elephants are a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures and are famed for their memory and intelligence, where their intelligence level is thought to be equal to that of dolphins[11][12][13][14] and primates.[15][16] Aristotle once said the elephant was "the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind."[17] The word "elephant" has its origins in the Greek ??????, meaning "ivory" or "elephant".[18]
According to observations, healthy adult elephants have no natural predators, [19] although lions may take calves or weak individuals.[20][21] They are, however, threatened by human intrusion and poaching.
Contents [hide]
1 Etymology
2 Taxonomy and evolution
2.1 African elephant
2.2 Asian elephant
3 Physical characteristics
3.1 Trunk
3.2 Tusks
3.3 Teeth
3.4 Skin
3.5 Legs and feet
3.6 Ears
4 Biology and behavior
4.1 Evolution
4.2 Social behavior
4.3 Mating
4.4 Intelligence
4.5 Senses
4.6 Self-awareness
4.7 Communication
4.8 Diet
4.9 Sleep
4.10 Reproduction and life cycle
4.10.1 Elephant calves
4.11 Effect on the environment
5 Threats
5.1 Hunting
5.2 Habitat loss
5.3 National parks
5.4 Fertilizer
6 Humans and elephants
6.1 Hunting
6.2 Domestication and use
6.2.1 Warfare
6.2.2 Industry
6.2.3 Zoo and circuses
6.2.4 Hybrids
6.3 Elephant aggression
6.3.1 Musth
6.3.2 Other causes
6.4 In popular culture
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 External links
Etymology

Olifant and its variations (ex. oliphant, olyphant) are archaic spellings of elephant. Aside from elephants, the word has been used to refer to ivory, elephant tusks, musical horns made of elephant tusks, or a musical instrument resembling such horns.
It appears in Middle English as olifant or olifaunt, and was borrowed from Medieval French olifanz. The French word owes something to both Old High German olbenta "camel", and to Latin elephantus "elephant", a word of Greek origin.[22] OHG olbenta is a word of old Germanic origin; cf. Gothic ulbandus also meaning "camel". But the form of the OHG and Gothic words suggests it is also a borrowing, perhaps indeed directly or indirectly from Greek "??????" (elephas), which in Homer only meant "ivory" but from Herodotus and on the word also referred to the animal.[23] The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek e-re-pa-to, written in Linear B syllabic script.[24]
Taxonomy and evolution

The African elephant genus contains two or, arguably, three living species; whereas the Asian elephant species is the only surviving member of the Asian elephant genus, but can be divided into four subspecies. The African and the Asian elephant diverged from a common ancestor some 7.6 million years ago.[25]
African elephant
Main articles: African elephant, African bush elephant, and African forest elephant


Elephant crossing a river, Kenya.


African bush (savanna) elephant in Etosha National Park, Namibia.



Video of elephants in the wild
The Elephants of the genus Loxodonta, known collectively as African elephants, are currently found in 37 countries in Africa.
African elephants are distinguished from Asian elephants in several ways, the most noticeable being their much larger ears.[26] Also, the African elephant is typically larger than the Asian elephant and has a concave back. In Asian elephants, only males have tusks, but both males and females of African elephants have tusks and are usually less hairy than their Asian cousins.
African elephants have traditionally been classified as a single species comprising two distinct subspecies, namely the savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), but recent DNA analysis suggests that these may actually constitute distinct species.[27] This split is not universally accepted by experts.[28] A third species of African elephant has also been proposed.[29]
The authors of an analysis of nuclear DNA extracted from "African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth" concluded in 2010 that African savanna and forest elephants are indeed separate species:
We unequivocally establish that the Asian elephant is the sister species to the woolly mammoth. A surprising finding from our study is that the divergence of African savanna and forest elephants—which some have argued to be two populations of the same species—is about as ancient as the divergence of Asian elephants and mammoths. Given their ancient divergence, we conclude that African savanna and forest elephants should be classified as two distinct species.[30]
This reclassification has implications for conservation. If there are two separate species, each will be less abundant (particularly the rarer) and could be more endangered than a more numerous and wide-ranging single species. There is also a potential danger that if the forest elephant is not explicitly listed as an endangered species, poachers and smugglers might be able to evade the law forbidding trade in endangered animals and their products.
The forest elephant and the savanna elephant can hybridize (interbreed), though their preferences for different terrains reduce such opportunities. As the African elephant has only recently been recognized to comprise two separate species, groups of captive elephants have not been comprehensively classified and some could well be hybrids.
Under the new two species classification, Loxodonta africana refers specifically to the savanna elephant, the largest of all elephants. It is the largest land animal, with males standing 3.2 metres (10 ft) to 4 metres (13 ft) at the shoulder and weighing 3, 500 kilograms (7, 700 lb) up to a reported 12, 000 kilograms (26, 000 lb).[31] The female is smaller, standing about 3 metres (9.8 ft) at the shoulder.[32] Most often, savanna elephants are found in open grasslands, marshes, and lakeshores. They range over much of the savanna zone south of the Sahara.
The other putative species, the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), is usually smaller and rounder, and its tusks thinner and straighter compared with the savanna elephant. The forest elephant can weigh up to 4, 500 kilograms (9, 900 lb) and stand about 3 metres (10 ft) tall. Much less is known about these animals than their savanna cousins, because environmental and political obstacles make them difficult to study. Normally, they inhabit the dense African rain forests of central and western Africa, although occasionally they roam the edges of forests, thus overlapping the savanna elephant home ranges and hybridizing. In 1979, Iain Douglas-Hamilton estimated the continental population of African elephants at around 1.3 million animals.[33] This estimate is controversial and is believed to be a gross overestimate, , [34] but it is very widely cited and has become a de facto baseline that continues to be incorrectly used to quantify downward population trends in the species. Through the 1980s, Loxodonta received worldwide attention due to the dwindling numbers of major populations in East Africa, largely as a result of poaching. According to IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report 2007, [35] there are between 470, 000 and 690, 000 African elephants in the wild. Although this estimate only covers about half of the total elephant range, experts do not believe the true figure to be much higher, as it is unlikely that large populations remain to be discovered.[36] By far, the largest populations are now found in southern and eastern Africa, which together account for the majority of the continental population. According to a recent analysis by IUCN experts, most major populations in eastern and southern Africa are stable or have been steadily increasing since the mid-1990s, at an average rate of 4.5% per year.[36][37]
Elephant populations in West Africa, on the other hand, are generally small and fragmented, and only account for a small proportion of the continental total.[38] Much uncertainty remains as to the size of the elephant population in central Africa, where the prevalence of forest makes population surveys difficult, but poaching for ivory and bushmeat is believed to be intense through much of the region.[39] South African elephant population more than doubled, rising from 8, 000 to over 20, 000, in the thirteen years after a 1995 ban on the trade in elephant ivory.[40] The ban on the ivory trade in southern Africa (but not elsewhere) was lifted in February 2008, sparking controversy among environmental groups.[citation needed]
Asian elephant
Main article: Asian elephant
The Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, is smaller than the African. It has smaller ears, and typically, only the males have large external tusks.
The world population of Asian elephants—also called Indian elephants—is estimated to be around 60, 000, about a tenth of the number of African elephants. More precisely, it is estimated that there are between 38, 000 and 53, 000 wild elephants and between 14, 500 and 15, 300 domesticated elephants in Asia, with perhaps another 1, 000 scattered around zoos in the rest of the world.[41] The Asian elephants' decline has possibly been more gradual than the African and caused primarily by poaching and habitat destruction by human encroachment.


A decorated Indian elephant in Jaipur, India.


Elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka
Several subspecies of Elephas maximus have been identified, using morphometric data and molecular markers. Elephas maximus maximus (Sri Lankan elephant) is found only on the island of Sri Lanka. It is the largest of the Asians. There are an estimated 3, 000–4, 500 members of this subspecies left today in the wild, although no accurate census has been carried out recently. Large males can weigh upward to 5, 400 kg (12, 000 lb) and stand over 3.4 m (11 ft) tall. Sri Lankan males have very large cranial bulges, and both sexes have more areas of depigmentation than other Asians. Typically, their ears, face, trunk, and belly have large concentrations of pink-speckled skin. There is an orphanage for elephants in Pinnawala, Sri Lanka, which plays a large role in protecting the Sri Lankan elephant from extinction.
Elephas maximus indicus (Indian elephant) makes up the bulk of the Asian elephant population. Numbering approximately 36, 000, these elephants are lighter grey in colour, with depigmentation only on the ears and trunk. Large males will ordinarily weigh only about 5, 000 kg (11, 000 lb), but are as tall as the Sri Lankan. The mainland Asian can be found in 11 Asian countries, from India to Indonesia. They prefer forested areas and transitional zones, between forests and grasslands, where greater food variety is available.
The Sumatran elephant, Elephas maximus sumatranus, found only on Sumatra, is smaller than the Indian elephant. Population estimates for this group range from 2, 100 to 3, 000 individuals. It is very light grey in colour and has less depigmentation than the other Asians, with pink spots only on the ears. Mature Sumatrans will usually only measure 1.7–2.6 m (5.6–8.5 ft) at the shoulder and weigh less than 3, 000 kg (6, 600 lb). It is considerably smaller than its other Asian (and African) cousins and exists only on the island of Sumatra, usually in forested regions and partially wooded habitats.
In 2003, a further subspecies was identified on Borneo. Named the Borneo pygmy elephant, it is smaller and tamer than any other Asian elephants. It also has relatively larger ears, longer tail and straighter tusks.
Physical characteristics


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2010)
Trunk


The elephant raises its trunk as a sign of warning or to smell enemies or friends


Articulation of elephant trunk.


An elephant can use its trunk for a variety of purposes. This one is wiping its eye.


Eye of an Asian elephant.
The proboscis, or trunk, is a fusion of the nose and upper lip, [42] elongated and specialized to become the elephant's most important and versatile appendage. African elephants are equipped with two fingerlike projections at the tip of their trunk, while Asians have only one. The elephant's trunk is sensitive enough to pick up a single blade of grass, yet strong enough to rip the branches off a tree.
Most herbivores (plant eaters, like the elephant) possess teeth adapted for cutting and tearing off plant materials. However, except for the very young or infirm, elephants always use their trunks to tear up their food and then place it in their mouths. They will graze on grass or reach up into trees to grasp leaves, fruit, or entire branches. If the desired food item is too high up, the elephant will wrap its trunk around the tree or branch and shake its food loose or sometimes simply knock the tree down altogether.
The trunk is also used for drinking. Elephants suck water up into the trunk—up to 14 litres (15 quarts) at a time—and then blow it into their mouths. Elephants also suck up water to spray on their bodies during bathing. On top of this watery coating, the animals will then spray dirt and mud, which dries and acts as a protective sunscreen. When swimming, the trunk makes an excellent snorkel.[43][44]
This appendage also plays a key role in many social interactions. Familiar elephants will greet each other by entwining their trunks, much like a handshake. They also use them while play-wrestling, caressing during courtship and mother-child interactions, and for dominance displays; a raised trunk can be a warning or threat, while a lowered trunk can be a sign of submission. Elephants can defend themselves very well by flailing their trunks at unwanted intruders or by grasping and flinging them.
An elephant also relies on its trunk for its highly developed sense of smell. By raising the trunk up in the air and swiveling it from side to side, like a periscope, it can determine the location of friends, enemies, and food sources.[citation needed]
Some elephants have been afflicted by floppy trunk syndrome.
Tusks

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2010)


Tusks of African and Asian elephants.
The tusks of an elephant are its second upper incisors. Tusks grow continuously; an adult male's tusks grow about 18 cm (7 in) a year. Tusks are used to dig for water, salt, and roots; to debark trees to eat the bark; to dig into baobab trees to get at the pulp inside; and to move trees and branches when clearing a path. In addition, they are used for marking trees to establish territory, and occasionally as weapons.
Like humans who are typically right- or left-handed, elephants are usually right- or left-tusked. The dominant tusk, called the master tusk, is generally shorter and more rounded at the tip from wear. Both male and female African elephants have large tusks that can reach over 3 m (10 ft) in length and weigh over 90 kg (200 lb). In the Asian species, only the males have large tusks. Female Asians have tusks which are very small or absent altogether. Asian males can have tusks as long as the much larger Africans, but they are usually much slimmer and lighter; the heaviest recorded is 39 kg (86 lb). The tusk of both species is mostly made of calcium phosphate in the form of apatite. As a piece of living tissue, it is relatively soft (compared with other minerals such as rock), and the tusk, also known as ivory, is strongly favoured by artists for its carvability. The desire for elephant ivory has been one of the major factors in the reduction of the world's elephant population.
Some extinct relatives of elephants had tusks in their lower jaws in addition to their upper jaws, such as Gomphotherium, or only in their lower jaws, such as Deinotherium.[45]
Teeth

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2010)
Elephants' teeth are very different from those of most other mammals. Over their lives they usually have 28 teeth. These are:
The two upper second incisors: these are the tusks.
The milk precursors of the tusks.
12 premolars, 3 in each side of each jaw.
12 molars, 3 in each side of each jaw.


Replica of an Asian elephant's molar, showing upper side.
This gives elephants a dental formula of:
Unlike most mammals, which grow baby teeth and then replace them with a permanent set of adult teeth, elephants have cycles of tooth rotation throughout their entire lives. The tusks have milk precursors, which fall out quickly and the adult tusks are in place by one year of age, but the chewing teeth are replaced five[46] or, very rarely, six[47] times in an elephant's lifetime.
Only four chewing teeth (premolars and/or molars), one on each side of each jaw, are in primary use at any given time (or two, as one replaces the other at each location). Adult teeth do not replace milk teeth by emerging from the jaws vertically as human teeth do. Instead, new teeth grow in at the back of the mouth, pushing older teeth toward the front, where the latter break off in pieces until they are gone. In African elephants, the first two sets of chewing teeth (premolars) are in place when an elephant is born. The first chewing tooth on each side in each jaw falls out when the elephant is about two years old. The second set of chewing teeth falls out when the elephant is about six years old. The third set is lost at 13 to 15 years of age, and set four lasts to approximately 28 years of age. The fifth set of chewing teeth (molars) lasts until the elephant is in its early 40s. The sixth (and usually final) set must last the elephant the rest of its life. If an elephant lives to more than 60 years of age, the last set of molars is worn to stumps, and it can no longer feed properly. Moss reports a female elephant in its sixties whose final set of molars were worn smooth and about one-quarter of their original size and who survived "with extra chewing and longer feeding bouts." Abscesses of chewing teeth, as well as of tusks and jaws, are common in elephants, and may lead to premature death.[48]
Tusks in the lower jaw are also second incisors. These grew out large in Deinotherium and some mastodons, but in modern elephants they disappear early without erupting.
Skin


Skin of an African (left) and Asian (right) elephant.



African elephant bathing
Elephants are colloquially called pachyderms (from their original scientific classification), which means thick-skinned animals. An elephant's skin is extremely tough around most parts of its body and measures about 2.5 centimetres (1.0 in) thick. However, the skin around the mouth and inside of the ear is considerably thinner. Normally, the skin of an Asian is covered with more hair than its African counterpart. This is most noticeable in the young. Asian calves are usually covered with a thick coat of brownish red fuzz. As they get older, this hair darkens and becomes more sparse, but it will always remain on their heads and tails.
The species of elephants are typically greyish in colour, but the Africans very often appear brown or reddish from wallowing in mud holes of colored soil. Wallowing is an important behaviour in elephant society. Not only is it important for socialization, but the mud acts as a sunscreen, protecting its skin from harsh ultraviolet radiation. Although tough, an elephant's skin is very sensitive. Without regular mud baths to protect it from burning, as well as from insect bites and moisture loss, an elephant's skin would suffer serious damage. After bathing, the elephant will usually use its trunk to blow soil on its body to help dry and bake on its new protective coat. As elephants are limited to smaller and smaller areas, there is less water available, and local herds will often come too close over the right to use these limited resources.
Wallowing also aids the skin in regulating body temperatures. Elephants have difficulty in releasing heat through the skin because, in proportion to their body size, they have very little of it. The ratio of an elephant's mass to the surface area of its skin is many times that of a human. Elephants have even been observed lifting up their legs to expose the soles of their feet, presumably in an effort to expose more skin to the air. Since wild elephants live in very hot climates, they must have other means of getting rid of excess heat.
Legs and feet


Elephant using its feet to crush a watermelon before eating it.
An elephant's legs are roughly shaped like columns or pillars, as they must be to support its bulk. The elephant needs less muscular power to stand because of its straight legs and large padded feet. For this reason, an elephant can stand for very long periods of time without tiring. In fact, African elephants rarely lie down unless they are sick or wounded. Indian elephants, in contrast, lie down frequently.
The feet of an elephant are nearly round. African elephants have three nails on each hind foot, and four on each front foot. Indian elephants have four nails on each hind foot and five on each front foot. Beneath the bones of the foot is a tough, gelatinous material that acts as a cushion or shock absorber. Under the elephant's weight, the foot swells, but it gets smaller when the weight is removed. An elephant can sink deep into mud, but can pull its legs out readily because its feet become smaller when they are lifted.[citation needed]
Elephants swim well, but cannot trot, jump, or gallop. They do have two gaits: a walk and a faster gait that is similar to running.
In walking, the legs act as pendulums, with the hips and shoulders rising and falling while the foot is planted on the ground. With no "aerial phase", the faster gait does not meet all the criteria of running, as elephants always have at least one foot on the ground. However, an elephant moving fast uses its legs much like other running animals, with the hips and shoulders falling and then rising while the feet are on the ground. In this gait, an elephant will have three feet off the ground at one time. As both of the hind feet and both of the front feet are off the ground at the same time, this gait has been likened to the hind legs and the front legs taking turns running.[49] Tests at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre are reported to show that fast-moving elephants 'run' with their front legs, but 'walk' with their hind legs.[50]
Although they start this "run" at only 8 km/h, [51] elephants have been reported to reach speeds up to 40 km/h (25 mph), [52] all the while using the same gait. In tests at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, the fastest elephants reached a top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph).[50] At this speed, most other four-legged creatures are well into a gallop, even accounting for leg length. Spring-like kinetics could explain the difference between the motion of elephants and other animals.[53]
See also: Comparative foot morphology#Elephant foot
Ears


Difference between Asian (left) and African (right) elephant ears.
The large flapping ears of an elephant are also very important for temperature regulation. Elephant ears are made of a very thin layer of skin stretched over cartilage and a rich network of blood vessels. On hot days, elephants will flap their ears constantly, creating a slight breeze. This breeze cools the surface blood vessels, and then the cooler blood gets circulated to the rest of the animal's body. The hot blood entering the ears can be cooled as much as 10 °F (6 °C) before returning to the body. Differences in the ear sizes of African and Asian elephants can be explained, in part, by their geographical distribution. Africans originated and stayed near the equator, where it is warmer. Therefore, they have bigger ears. Asians live farther north, in slightly cooler climates, and thus have smaller ears.
The ears are also used in certain displays of aggression and during the males' mating period. If an elephant wants to intimidate a predator or rival, it will spread its ears out wide to make itself look more massive and imposing. During the breeding season, males give off an odor from the musth gland located behind their eyes. Joyce Poole, a well-known elephant researcher, has theorized that the males will fan their ears in an effort to help propel this "elephant cologne" great distances.[54]
Biology and behavior



The skeleton of a dwarf elephant from the island of Crete. Dwarf elephants were present on some Mediterranean islands until about 10, 000 years ago.
Evolution
The earliest known ancestors of modern-day elephants evolved about 60 million years ago. The ancestor of the elephants from 37 million years ago was aquatic and had a similar lifestyle to a hippopotamus.[55]
Social behavior

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2011)
Elephants live in a structured social order. The social lives of male and female elephants are very different. The females spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. These groups are led by the eldest female, or matriarch. Adult males, on the other hand, live mostly solitary lives.
The social circle of the female elephant does not end with the small family unit. In addition to encountering the local males that live on the fringes of one or more groups, the female's life also involves interaction with other families, clans, and subpopulations. Most immediate family groups range from five to fifteen adults, as well as a number of immature males and females. When a group gets too big, a few of the elder daughters will break off and form their own small group. They remain very aware of which local herds are relatives and which are not.


Elephant footprints (tire tracks for scale)
The life of the adult male is very different. As he gets older, he begins to spend more time at the edge of the herd, gradually going off on his own for hours or days at a time. Eventually, days become weeks, and somewhere around the age of fourteen, the mature male, or bull, sets out from his natal group for good. While males do live primarily solitary lives, they will occasionally form loose associations with other males. These groups are called bachelor herds. The males spend much more time than the females fighting for dominance with each other. Only the most dominant males will be permitted to breed with cycling females. The less dominant ones must wait their turns. It is usually the older bulls, forty to fifty years old, that do most of the breeding.
The dominance battles between males can look very fierce, but typically they inflict very little injury. Most of the bouts are in the form of aggressive displays and bluffs. Ordinarily, the smaller, younger, and less confident animal will back off before any real damage can be done. However, during the breeding season, the battles can get extremely aggressive, and the occasional elephant is injured. During this season, known as musth, a bull will fight with almost any other male it encounters, and it will spend most of its time hovering around the female herds, trying to find a receptive mate.
In West with the Night, Kenyan Aviatrix Beryl Markham suggests the matriarchal society of elephants may be a recent adaptation, since perhaps 1930, to the arrival of firearms. She describes elephant herds containing multiple adult males as well as females. She further describes how the females attempted to hide the males (hunted disproportionately for their tusks) from hunters.[56]
Mating

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2011)


Elephant mating behaviour.


Elephant mating behaviour (2)
The mating season is short and females are only able to conceive for a few days each year. She will detach herself from the herd. The scent of the female (cow) elephant in heat (or estrus) attracts the male and she also uses audible signals to attract the male. As the female can usually outrun the male, she does not have to mate with every male that approaches her.
The male initiates the courtship and the female ignores him for several minutes. He then stops and starts again. Elephants display a range of affectionate interactions, such as nuzzling, trunk intertwining, and placing their trunks in each other's mouths (image 2).
In a rarely observed display of his affection, he may drape his trunk outside of his tusks during the ritual (image 1). The interactions may last for 20–30 minutes and do not necessarily result in the male mounting the female, though he may demonstrate arousal during the ritual.
The female elephant is not passive in the ritual and uses the same techniques as the male.
African as well as Asiatic males will engage in same-sex bonding and mounting. The encounters are analogous to heterosexual bouts, one male often extending his trunk along the other's back and pushing forward with his tusks to signify his intention to mount. Unlike heterosexual relations, which are always of a fleeting nature, those between males result in a "companionship", consisting of an older individual and one or two younger, attendant males. Same-sex relations are common and frequent in both sexes, with Asiatic elephants in captivity devoting roughly 46% of sexual encounters to same-sex activity.[57]
Intelligence
Main article: Elephant intelligence


Human, pilot whale and elephant brains up to scale. (1)-cerebrum (1a)-temporal lobe and (2)-cerebellum.
With a mass just over 5 kg (11 lb), elephant brains are larger than those of any other land animal. A wide variety of behaviours associated with intelligence have been attributed to elephants, including those associated with grief, making music, art, altruism, allomothering, play, use of tools, [58] compassion and self-awareness.[59] Elephants are believed to rank equally in terms of intelligence with cetaceans[11][13][14] and nonhuman primates.[11][15][16] The elephant's brain is similar to that of humans in terms of structure and complexity; the elephant brain exhibits a gyral pattern more complex and with more numerous convolutes, or brain folds, than that of humans, primates or carnivores, but less complex than cetaceans.[60] However, the cortex of the elephant brain is "thicker than that of cetaceans" and is believed to have as many cortical neurons (nerve cells) and cortical synapses as that of humans, which exceeds that of cetaceans.[61]
Senses
Elephants have well innervated trunks, and an exceptional sense of hearing and smell. The hearing receptors reside not only in ears, but also in trunks that are sensitive to vibrations, and most significantly feet, which have special receptors for low frequency sound and are exceptionally well innervated. Elephants communicate by sound over large distances of several kilometers partly through the ground, which is important for their social lives. Elephants are observed listening by putting trunks on the ground and carefully positioning their feet.
The eyesight of elephants is relatively poor.
Self-awareness
Mirror self recognition is a test of self-awareness and cognition used in animal studies. A mirror was provided and visible marks were made on the elephant. The elephants investigated these marks, which were visible only via the mirror. The tests also included invisible marks to rule out the possibility of their using other senses to detect these marks. This shows that elephants recognize the fact that the image in the mirror is their own self, and such abilities are considered the basis for empathy, altruism and higher social interactions. This ability has also been demonstrated in humans, apes, bottlenose dolphins, [62] and magpies.[63]


A young elephant in Zimbabwe.
Communication
Elephants make a number of sounds when communicating. Elephants are famous for their trumpet calls, which are made when the animal blows through its nostrils. Trumpeting is usually made during excitement. Its use varies from startlement to a cry of help to rage. Elephants also make rumbling growls when greeting each other. The growl becomes a bellow when the mouth is open and a bellow becomes a moan when prolonged. This can escalate with a roar when threatening another elephant or another animal.
Elephants can communicate over long distances by producing and receiving low-frequency sound (infrasound), a sub-sonic rumbling, which can travel in the air and through the ground much farther than higher frequencies. These calls range in frequency from 15–35 Hz and can be as loud as 117 dB, allowing communication for many kilometres, with a possible maximum range of around 10 km.[64] This sound can be felt by the sensitive skin of an elephant's feet and trunk, which pick up the resonant vibrations much as the flat skin on the head of a drum. To listen attentively, every member of the herd will lift one foreleg from the ground, and face the source of the sound, or often lay its trunk on the ground. The lifting presumably increases the ground contact and sensitivity of the remaining legs. This ability is thought also to aid their navigation by use of external sources of infrasound. Discovery of this new aspect of elephant social communication and perception came with breakthroughs in audio technology, which can pick up frequencies outside the range of the human ear. Pioneering research in elephant infrasound communication was done by Katy Payne, of the Elephant Listening Project, [65] and is detailed in her book Silent Thunder. Though this research is still in its infancy, it is helping to solve many mysteries, such as how elephants can find distant potential mates, and how social groups are able to coordinate their movements over extensive range.[64] Joyce Poole has also begun decoding elephant utterances that have been recorded over many years of observation, hoping to create a lexicon based on a systematic catalogue of elephant sounds.[66]
Diet
Elephants are herbivores, and spend up to 16 hours a day eating plants. Their diets are highly variable, both seasonally and across habitats and regions. Elephants are primarily browsers, feeding on the leaves, bark, and fruits of trees and shrubs, but they may also eat considerable grasses and herbs. As is true for other nonruminant unglulates, elephants only digest approximately 40% of what they eat.[67] They make up for their digestive systems' lack of efficiency in volume. An adult elephant consumes 140–270 kg (300–600 lb) of food a day.
Sleep
Further information: Sleep (non-human)
The average sleep time of an elephant is said to be only two plus hours per day. This is thought to be because they are so big they have to eat most of the time.[68]
Reproduction and life cycle
Elephant calves

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2011)
Female elephant social life revolves around breeding and raising of the calves. A female will usually be ready to breed around the age of thirteen, when she comes into estrus, a short phase of receptiveness lasting a couple of days, for the first time. Females announce their estrus with smell signals and special calls.


Female African elephant with calf, in Kenya.
Females prefer bigger, stronger, and, most importantly, older males. Such a reproductive strategy tends to increase their offspring's chances of survival.
After a twenty-two-month pregnancy, the mother gives birth to a calf that weighs about 115 kg (250 lb) and stands over 75 cm (2.5 ft) tall. Elephants have a very long development. As is common with more intelligent species, they are born with fewer survival instincts than many other animals. Instead, they rely on their elders to teach them what they need to know. Today, however, the pressures humans have put on the wild elephant populations, from poaching to habitat destruction, mean that the elderly often die at a younger age, leaving fewer teachers for the young. The consequences of this for the next generation are not known.
A new calf is usually the center of attention for herd members. Adults and most of the other young will gather around the newborn, touching and caressing it with their trunks. The baby is born nearly blind and at first relies almost completely on its trunk to discover the world around it.
Elephants within a herd are usually related, and all members of the tightly-knit female group participate in the care and protection of the young. After the initial excitement, the mother will usually select several full-time baby-sitters, or "allomothers", from her group. An elephant is considered an allomother when she is not able to have her own calf. The more allomothers, the better the calf's chances of survival. A benefit of being an allomother is that she can gain experience or receive assistance when caring for her own calf. According to Cynthia Moss, a well known researcher, these allomothers will help in all aspects of raising the calf.[69] They walk with the young as the herd travels, helping the calves along if they fall or get stuck in the mud. The more allomothers a calf has, the more free time its mother has to feed herself. Providing a calf with nutritious milk means the mother has to eat more nutritious food herself.
Effect on the environment
Elephants can have profound impacts on the ecosystems they occupy, and both positive and negative effects on other species especially with their foraging activities. By pulling down trees to eat leaves, breaking branches, and pulling out roots, they reduce woody cover, creating clearings in forests, converting forests to savannas, and converting savannas to grasslands. These changes tend to benefit grazers at the expense of browsers.
Dung beetles and termites both eat elephant feces. During the dry season, elephants use their tusks to dig into river beds to reach underground sources of water. These holes may then become essential sources of water for other species. Elephants make paths through their environment that are used by other animals. Some of these pathways have apparently been used by several generations of elephants, used by humans and eventually even been converted to roads.
Threats



Men with African elephant tusks, Dar es Salaam, c. 1900
Hunting
Main article: Ivory trade
The threat to the African elephant presented by the ivory trade is unique to the species. Larger, long-lived, slow-breeding animals, like the elephant, are more susceptible to overhunting than other animals. They cannot hide, and it takes many years for an elephant to grow and reproduce. An elephant needs an average of 140 kg (300 lb) of vegetation a day to survive. As large predators are hunted, the local small grazer populations (the elephant's food competitors) find themselves on the rise. The increased number of herbivores ravage the local trees, shrubs, and grasses. Elephants themselves have few natural predators besides man and, occasionally, lions. However, many African governments legally allow limited hunting. The large amount of money that is charged for the necessary permits is often used to support conservation efforts, and the small number of permits issued (usually for older animals) ensure that populations are not depleted.[70]
At the turn of the 20th century, it is estimated that elephants numbered between 5 and 10 million, but hunting and habitat destruction had reduced their numbers to 400, 000 to 500, 000 by the end of the century.[71] In the ten years preceding 1990 the population more than halved from 1.3 million to around 600, 000, largely caused by the ivory trade, prompting an international ivory ban.[72][73] While elephant populations are increasing in parts of southern and eastern Africa, [74] other African nations report a decrease of their elephant populations by as much as two-thirds, and populations in even some protected areas are in danger of being eliminated[75] Chad has a decades-old history of poaching of elephants, which has caused the elephant population of the region, which exceeded 300, 000 in 1970, to drop to approximately 10, 000 today.[76] In Virunga National Park, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the number of elephants living in the observable area of the park fell from 2, 889 in 1951 to 348 in 2006.[77]
Habitat loss
Another threat to elephants' survival in general is the ongoing cultivation of their habitats with increasing risk of conflicts of interest with human cohabitants. These conflicts kill 150 elephants and up to 100 people per year in Sri Lanka.[78] The Asian elephants' demise can be attributed mostly to loss of its habitat.
As larger patches of forest disappear, the ecosystem is affected in profound ways. The trees are responsible for anchoring soil and absorbing water runoff. Floods and massive erosion are common results of deforestation. Elephants need massive tracts of land because, much like the slash-and-burn farmers, they are used to crashing through the forest, tearing down trees and shrubs for food and then cycling back later on, when the area has regrown. As forests are reduced to small pockets, elephants become part of the problem, quickly destroying all the vegetation in an area, eliminating all their resources.
National parks
Africa's first official reserve, Kruger National Park, eventually became one of the world's most famous and successful national parks.[79] There are, however, many problems associated with the establishment of these reserves. For example, elephants range through a wide tract of land with little regard for national borders. Once a reserve is established and fences erected, many animals find themselves cut off from their winter feeding grounds or spring breeding areas. Some animals may die as a result, while others, like the elephants, may just trample over the fences, wreaking havoc in nearby fields. When confined to small territories, elephants can inflict an enormous amount of damage to the local landscapes.[80]
Additionally, some reserves, such as Kruger National Park has, in the opinion of wildlife managers, suffered from elephant overcrowding, at the expense of other species of wildlife within the reserve. On 25 February 2008, the South Africa announced that they would reintroduce culling for the first time since 1994 to control elephant numbers although no cull has yet taken place.[81] Nevertheless, as scientists learn more about nature and the environment, it becomes very clear that these parks may be the elephants' last hope against the rapidly changing world around them.
Fertilizer
At Bengkulu province in Indonesia, four elephants died and based on the autopsy of one of them there was a high content of nitrogen in its body. The initial suspicion is the elephants had eaten fertilizer spread around trees in the plantation. The elephants may have been after the salt in the fertilizer and that would have led to their deaths.[82]
Humans and elephants



Elephant pillar carvings at Kailash Temple[disambiguation needed], India
Hunting


Indian(?) elephant, from a Lombardy manuscript, circa 1400.
Elephant hunting, both legal and illegal, has had some unexpected consequences on elephant anatomy as well. African ivory hunters, by killing only tusked elephants, have given a much larger chance of mating to elephants with small tusks or no tusks at all. The propagation of the absent-tusk gene has resulted in the birth of large numbers of tuskless elephants, now approaching 30% in some populations (compare with a rate of about 1% in 1930)[citation needed]. Tusklessness, once a rare genetic abnormality, has become a widespread hereditary trait.
It is possible, if unlikely, that continued selection pressure could bring about a complete absence of tusks in African elephants. The effect of tuskless elephants on the environment, and on the elephants themselves, could be dramatic. Elephants use their tusks to root around in the ground for necessary minerals, tear apart vegetation, and spar with one another for mating rights. Without tusks, elephant behaviour could change dramatically.[83]
Domestication and use


Elephants are used to entertain tourists at some beaches as at Havelock Island, India.
Elephants have been working animals used in various capacities by humans. Seals found in the Indus Valley suggest that the elephant was first domesticated in ancient India. However, elephants have never been truly domesticated: the male elephant in his periodic condition of musth is dangerous and difficult to control. Therefore, elephants used by humans have typically been female, war elephants being an exception; as female elephants in battle will run from a male, only males could be used in war. It is generally more economical to capture wild young elephants and tame them than to breed them in captivity (see also elephant "crushing").


The Judean rebel Eleazar Maccabeus kills a Seleucid war elephant and is crushed under it (Miniature from a manuscript Speculum Humanae Salvationis).
The Laotians have been domesticating elephants for centuries, and about 500 domesticated elephants are still employed, the majority of which work in the Xaignabouli province. These elephants are mainly employed in the logging industry, with ecotourism emerging as a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative. Elefantasia is a local INGO aiming to reconvert logging elephants into ecotourism practices, thus allowing Asian elephants the ability to supply their mahouts with income while still allowing them to breed.
Elephants are also commonly exhibited in zoos and wild animal parks. About 1200 elephants are kept in western zoos. A study shows that the lifespan of elephants in European zoos is about half as long as those living in protected areas in Africa and Asia.[84] As of July 2010, the oldest living African elephant in captivity is Ruaha (59) at Zoo Basel .[85]
Elephants are revered in India (and are worshipped in ceremonies such as the Aanayoottu).
Warfare


Elephants in use by Indian cavalry
Main article: War elephant
War elephants were used by armies in the Indian subcontinent, the Warring States of China, and later by the Persian Empire. This use was adopted by Hellenistic armies after Alexander the Great experienced their worth against King Porus, notably in the Ptolemaic and Seleucid diadoch empires. The Carthaginian general Hannibal took elephants across the Alps when he was fighting the Romans, but brought too few elephants to be of much military use, although his horse cavalry was quite successful; he probably used a now-extinct third African subspecies, the North African forest elephant, smaller than its two southern cousins, and presumably easier to domesticate. A large elephant in full charge could cause tremendous damage to infantry, and cavalry horses would be afraid of them (see Battle of Hydaspes).
In the Southeast Asia, the powerful Khmer Empire had come to regional dominance by the 9th century AD, drawing heavily on the use of war elephants. With the collapse of Khmer power in the 15th century, the successor region powers of Burma (now Myanmar) and Siam (now Thailand) also adopted the widespread use of war elephants. A notable example of a battle using elephants in Southeast Asia is Yuttahadhi.
Industry


Elephant work camp in Thailand. Elephants are used for heavy forest work and in circus presentations.
Throughout Myanmar (Burma), Siam, India, and most of South Asia, elephants were used in the military for heavy labour, especially for uprooting trees and moving logs, and were also commonly used as executioners to crush the condemned underfoot.
Elephants have also been used as mounts for safari-type hunting, especially Indian shikar (mainly on tigers), and as ceremonial mounts for royal and religious occasions, while Asian elephants have been used for transport and entertainment.
Zoo and circuses
There is growing resistance[86] against the capture, confinement, and use of wild elephants. Animal rights advocates allege elephants in zoos and circuses "suffer a life of chronic physical ailments, social deprivation, emotional starvation, and premature death".[87] Zoos argue that standards for treatment of elephants are extremely high and minimum requirements for such things as minimum space requirements, enclosure design, nutrition, reproduction, enrichment and veterinary care are set to ensure the well-being of elephants in captivity. Circuses continue to have a mixed record. Recently, the city of Los Angeles closed an elephant act with Circus Vazquez due to numerous instances of abuse and neglect (April 2008), [88] and according to PETA, 27 elephants owned by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have died since 1992.[89]
Elephants have traditionally been a major part of circuses around the world, being intelligent enough to be trained in a variety of acts (see for example P.T. Barnum's Jumbo and John L. Sullivan, the famous "Boxing Elephant"). However, conditions for circus elephants are unnatural (confinement in small pens or cages, restraints on their feet, lack of companionship of other elephants). Perhaps as a result, there are occasional instances of them turning on their keepers or handlers (examples include Black Diamond and "Murderous Mary").
Elephants raised in captivity sometimes show "rocking behavior", a rhythmic and repetitive swaying which is unreported in free-ranging wild elephants. Thought to be symptomatic of stress disorders, and probably made worse by a barren environment, [90] rocking behavior may be a precursor to aggressive behavior in captive elephants.[91][92] This link is to an image of Devi (little princess), a 30-year-old Asian elephant raised in captivity at the San Diego Zoo showing "rocking behavior".
Hybrids
African and Asian elephant species have disjunct distributions, and do not hybridize in the wild. However, in 1978 at Chester Zoo, an Asian elephant cow gave birth to a hybrid calf sired by an African elephant bull. "Motty", the resulting hybrid male calf, had an African elephant's cheeks, ears (large with pointed lobes) and legs (longer and slimmer), but the toenail numbers, (5 for each front foot, 4 hind) and the single trunk finger of an Asian elephant. His wrinkled trunk was like that of an African elephant. His forehead was sloping with one dome and two smaller domes behind it. The body was African in type, but had an Asian-type center hump and an African-type rear hump. The calf died of infection 12 days later.[93] It is preserved as a mounted specimen at the British Natural History Museum, London. There are unconfirmed rumors of three other hybrid elephants born in zoos or circuses; all are said to have been deformed and none survived.[citation needed]
Elephant aggression

Devi (little princess), a 30-year-old Asian elephant raised in captivity at the San Diego Zoo exhibiting "rocking behavior" (animation), a rhythmic and repetitive swaying which is unreported in free ranging wild elephants. Thought to be symptomatic of stress disorders, and probably made worse by a barren environment, [90] rocking behavior may be a precursor to aggressive behavior in captive elephants.
Despite their popularity in zoos, and portrayal as gentle giants in fiction, elephants are among the world's most dangerous animals. They can crush and kill any other land animal, even the rhinoceros. They can experience bouts of rage, and engage in actions that have been interpreted as vindictive.[94] In Africa, groups of young teenage elephants attacked human villages after cullings done in the 1970s and 80s.[95][96] In India, male elephants attack villages at night, destroying homes and killing people regularly. In the Indian state of Jharkhand, 300 people were killed by elephants between 2000 and 2004, and in Assam, 239 people were reported killed by elephants between 2001 and 2006.[94]
Musth
Main article: Musth
Adult male elephants naturally periodically enter the state called musth (Hindi for "madness"), sometimes spelled "must" in English. Elephants in musth display highly aggressive behavior and elevated levels of reproductive hormones.
Other causes
Local people have reported their belief that some elephants were drunk during their attacks, although there is no confirmed evidence of this. In December 1998, a herd of elephants overran a village in India. Although locals reported that nearby elephants had recently been observed drinking beer which rendered them "unpredictable", officials considered it the least likely explanation for the attack.[97] An attack on another Indian village occurred in October 1999, and again locals believed the reason was drunkenness, but again the theory was not widely accepted.[98] Purportedly drunk elephants raided yet another Indian village again on December 2002, killing six people, which led to the killing of about 200 elephants by locals.[99]
In popular culture
See also: Cultural depictions of elephants


Depiction of a crocodile stretching the nose of a young elephant in Rudyard Kipling's "Elephant's Child" from Just So Stories.
Elephants are ubiquitous in Western popular culture as emblems of the exotic[100] because their unique appearance and size sets them apart from other animals and because, like other African animals such as the giraffe, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, they are unfamiliar to Western audiences.[101] Popular culture's stock references to elephants rely on this exotic uniqueness.[101] For instance, a "white elephant" is a byword for something expensive, useless and bizarre.[101]
As characters, elephants are relegated largely to children's literature, [100] in which they are generally cast as models of exemplary behaviour, [100] but account for some of this branch of literature's most iconic characters.[100] Many stories tell of isolated young elephants returning to a close-knit community, such as The Elephant’s Child from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories (1902), Dumbo (1942) or The Saggy Baggy Elephant (1947).[101] Other elephant heroes given human qualities include Laurent de Brunhoff's anthropomorphic Babar (1935), David McKee's Elmer (1989) and Dr. Seuss's Horton (1940).[101] More than other exotic animals, elephants in fiction are surrogates for humans, [101] with their concern for the community and each other depicted as something to aspire to.[102]
The use of the elephant as a symbol of the Republican Party (United States) began with an 1874 cartoon by Thomas Nast.
The University of Alabama has a mascot of an elephant named Big Al (mascot).
4585 days ago by Turk
Abul-Abbas, also Abul Abaz or Abulabaz, was an Asian elephant given to Emperor Charlemagne by the caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid, in 797. The elephant's name and events from his life in the Carolingian Empire are recorded in the annales regni francorum (Royal Frankish Annals), [1] and Einhard's vita Karoli Magni also mentions the elephant.[2] However, no references of the gift have been found in Abbasid records, nor any mentions of interactions with Charlemagne, possibly because Rashid regarded the Frank as a minor ruler.[3]
Abul-Abbas was brought from Baghdad which was then a part of the Abbasid empire by a Frankish Jew named Isaac, [4] who along with two other emissaries, Lanterfrid and Sigimund, was sent to the caliph on Charlemagne's orders. Being the only surviving member of the group of three, Isaac was sent back with the elephant. The two began the trek back by following the Egyptian coast into Ifriqiya (modern Algeria and Tunisia), ruled by Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab who had bought the land from al-Rashid for 40, 000 dinars annually. Possibly with the help of Ibrahim, Isaac set sail with Abul-Abbas from the city of Kairouan and traveled the remaining miles to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. They landed in Genoa in October of 801.[5] The two spent the winter in Vercelli, and in the spring they started the march over the Alps to the Emperor's residence in Aachen, arriving on 1 July, 802.[4] Abul-Abbas was exhibited on various occasions when the court was assembled, and was eventually housed in Augsburg in what is now southern Bavaria.
In 810, when he was in his forties, Abul-Abbas died of pneumonia, probably after swimming in the Rhine. The elephants' bones were conserved at Lippenham[citation needed] until the 18th century.
Later sources state that Abul-Abbas was an albino. According to legend, he was also used as a war elephant in 804 when the Danish king Godfred attacked a trading village near Denmark and moved the people by force to his newly-built trading village in Hedeby. Charlemagne mobilized his troops against the Danes, and legend has it that he sent for his elephant to join in the mighty battle. However, the few contemporary sources mention neither the colour of the elephant nor his use in war or details regarding the manner of the death of Abul-Abbas. The Royal Frankish Annals contain only short reports about the transport of Abul-Abbas (801), [6] his delivery to the Emperor (802)[7] and his death (810).
4585 days ago by Turk
A war elephant is an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat. Their main use was to charge the enemy, trampling them and breaking their ranks. A division of war elephants is known as elephantry.
They were probably first employed in India, the practice spreading out across south-east Asia and westwards into the Mediterranean. Their most famous use in the West was by the Greek general Pyrrhus of Epirus and in great numbers by the armies of Carthage, especially under Hannibal.
In the Mediterranean, improved tactics reduced the value of the elephant in battle, while their availability in the wild also decreased. In the east, where supplies of animals were greater and the terrain ideal, it was the advent of cannon that finally concluded the use of the combat elephant at the end of the 19th century, limiting them thereafter to engineering and labour roles.
Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Taming
1.2 Antiquity: India, Persia and Alexander the Great
1.3 Antiquity: the Mediterranean
1.4 Antiquity: The Far East
1.5 Middle Ages
1.6 Modern era
2 Tactical use
3 Cultural legacy
4 See also
5 Notes
6 References
7 External links
[edit]History

[edit]Taming


The Mughal Emperor Akbar is depicted training an elephant.
The first elephant species to be tamed was the Asian Elephant, for use in agriculture. Elephant taming - not full domestication, as they were still captured in the wild, rather than being bred in captivity - may have begun in any of three different places. The oldest evidence of tamed elephants is in a Mesopotamian relief, around 4, 500 years ago.[citation needed] Another possible candidate is the Indus Valley Civilization, from approximately the same date.[1] Archaeological evidence for the presence of wild elephants in the Yellow River valley during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100 BCE) has also led to China being suggested as an initial site for the taming of elephants.[2] The wild elephant populations of Mesopotamia and China declined quickly because of deforestation and human overpopulation: by c. 850 BCE the Mesopotamian elephants were extinct, and by c. 500 BCE the Chinese elephants were seriously reduced in numbers and limited to areas well south of the Yellow River.
Capturing elephants from the wild remained a difficult task, but a necessary one given the difficulties of breeding in captivity and the long time required for an elephant to reach sufficient maturity to engage in battle. It is commonly thought that all war elephants were male because of males' greater aggression, but it is rather because a female elephant in battle will run from a male; therefore only males could be used in war, whereas female elephants were more commonly used for logistics.[3]
[edit]Antiquity: India, Persia and Alexander the Great
There is uncertainty as to when elephant warfare first began. The earliest Indian Vedic religious hymns, the Rigveda, dating from the late 2nd and early 1st millennia BCE, make reference to the use of elephants for transport - especially Indra and his divine white elephant, Airavata - but make no reference to the use of elephants in war, focusing instead on Indra's role in leading horse cavalry.[4] The later stories of the Mahabharata, dating from around the 8th century BCE in their earliest forms, and the Ramayana, dating from around the 4th century BCE, [5] do however mention elephant warfare, suggesting its introduction during the intervening period.[6] The ancient Indian kings certainly valued the elephant in war, some stating that 'an army without elephants is as despicable as a forest without a lion, a kingdom without a king or as valour unaided by weapons.'[7]


A Victorian depiction of war elephants attacking at the Battle of the Hydaspes River.
From India, military thinking on the use of war elephants spread westwards to the Persian Empire, where they were used in several campaigns and in turn came to influence the campaigns of Alexander the Great. The first confrontation between Europeans and the Persian war elephants occurred at the Alexander's Battle of Gaugamela (331 BCE), where the Persians deployed fifteen elephants.[8] These elephants were placed at the centre of the Persian line and made such an impression on the Macedonian troops that Alexander felt the need to sacrifice to the God of Fear the night before the battle - but according to some sources the elephants ultimately failed to deploy in the final battle owing to their long march the day before.[9] Alexander won resoundingly at Gaugamela, but was deeply impressed by the enemy elephants and took these first fifteen into his own army, adding to their number during his capture of the rest of Persia.
By the time Alexander reached the borders of India five years later, he had a substantial number of elephants under his own command. When it came to defeating Porus, who ruled in the Punjab region of modern day Pakistan, Alexander found himself facing a considerable force of between 85 and 100 war elephants[10][11] at the Battle of the Hydaspes River. Preferring stealth and mobility to sheer force, Alexander manoeuvered and engaged with just his infantry and cavalry, ultimately defeating Porus' forces, including his elephant corps, albeit at some cost. Looking further east again, however, Alexander could see that the kings of the Nanda Empire and Gangaridai could deploy as between 3, 000 and 6, 000 war elephants. Such a force was many times larger than the number employed by the Persians and Greeks, which discouraged Alexander's small band of men and effectively halted their advance into India.[12] On his return, Alexander established a force of elephants to guard his palace at Babylon, and created the post of elephantarch to lead his elephant units.[9]


Eleazar Maccabeus kills the war elephant and is crushed under it (Miniature from a manuscript Speculum Humanae Salvationis).
The successful military use of elephants spread further. The successors to Alexander's empire, the Diadochi, used hundreds of Indian elephants in their wars, with the Seleucid empire being particularly notable for their use of the animals, still being largely brought from India. Indeed, the campaign between the Seleucids and Chandragupta Maurya (Sandrokottos), founder of the Maurya empire in 305 BCE ended with the Seleucids ceding vast eastern territories in exchange for 500 war elephants[13] - a small part of the Maurya forces, which included up to 9, 000 elephants by some accounts.[14] The Seleucids put their new elephants to good use at the battle of Ipsus four years later. Later in its history, the Seleucid Empire used elephants in its efforts to crush the Maccabean Revolt in Judea. The elephants were terrifying to the lighter-armed Jewish warriors, and the youngest of the Hasmonean brothers, Eleazar Maccabeus, famously defeated one of the creatures in the Battle of Beth Zechariah, sticking a spear under the belly of an elephant he mistakenly believed to be carrying Seleucid king Antiochus V, killing the elephant at the cost of Eleazar's own life.[15]


War elephants during Battle of Gaugamela
[edit]Antiquity: the Mediterranean
The Egyptians and the Carthaginians began acquiring African elephants for the same purpose, as did the Numidians and the Kushites. The animal used was the North African forest elephant[16] which would become extinct from over-exploitation.[17] These animals were smaller than the Asian elephants used by the Seleucids on the east of the Mediterranean region, particularly those from Syria, [18] which stood 2.5-3.5 meters (8–10 ft) at the shoulder. It is likely that at least some Syrian elephants were traded abroad - the favourite elephant of Hannibal was an impressive animal named Surus ("the Syrian"), for example, and may have been of Syrian stock, though the evidence remains ambiguous.[19]
Since the late 1940s a strand of scholarship has argued that the African forest elephants used by Numidian, Ptolemaic and Punic armies did not carry howdahs or turrets in combat, perhaps owing to the physical weakness of the species.[20] Some allusions to turrets in ancient literature are certainly anachronistic or poetic invention, but other references are less easily discounted. There is explicit contemporary testimony that the army of Juba I of Numidia included turreted elephants in 46 BCE.[21] This is confirmed by the image of a turreted African elephant used on the coinage of Juba II.[22] This also appears to be the case with Ptolemaic armies: Polybius reports that at the battle of Raphia in 217 BCE the elephants of Ptolemy IV carried turrets; these beasts were significantly smaller than the Asian elephants fielded by the Seleucids and so presumably African forest elephants.[23] There is also evidence that Carthaginian war elephants were furnished with turrets and howdahs in certain military contexts.[24]
Farther south, tribes would have had access to the African Savanna elephant.[25] Although much larger than either the African forest elephant or the Asian elephant, these proved difficult to tame for war purposes and were not used extensively.[26] Some Asian elephants were traded westwards to the Mediterranean markets; Pliny the Elder stated that the Sri Lankan elephants, for example, were larger, fiercer and better for war than local elephants. This superiority, as well as the proximity of the supply to seaports, made Sri Lanka's elephants a lucrative trading commodity.[27]
Although the use of war elephants in the Mediterranean is most famously associated with the wars between Carthage and Rome, the introduction of war elephants was primarily the result of the Greek kingdom of Epirus. King Pyrrhus of Epirus brought twenty elephants to attack the Romans at the battle of Heraclea in 280 BCE, leaving some fifty additional animals, on loan from Pharaoh Ptolemy II, on the mainland. The Romans were unprepared for fighting elephants, and the Greek forces routed the Romans. The next year, the Greeks again deployed a similar force of elephants, attacking the Romans at the battle of Asculum. This time the Romans came prepared with flammable weapons and anti-elephant devices: these were ox-led chariots, equipped with long spikes to wound the elephants, pots of fire to scare them, and accompanying screening troops who would hurl javelins at the elephants to drive them away. A final charge of Greek elephants won the day again, but this time Pyrrhus had suffered very heavy casualties - a Pyrrhic victory.


Battle of Zama by Henri-Paul Motte, 1890
Inspired by these victories, Carthage developed its own use of war elephants and deployed them extensively during the First Punic War. The results were not inspiring. At Adyss in 255 BCE, the Carthaginian elephants were ineffective due to the terrain, whilst at the battle of Panormus in 251 BCE the Romans were able to terrify the Carthaginian elephants, which fled from the field. During the Second Punic War, Hannibal famously led an army of war elephants across the Alps - although unfortunately most of them perished in the harsh conditions. The Romans had developed effective anti-elephant tactics, leading to Hannibal's defeat at his final battle of Zama in 202 BCE; his elephant charge was ineffective because the disciplined Roman maniples simply made way for them to pass.
Rome brought back many elephants at the end of the Punic Wars, and used them in its campaigns for many years afterwards. The conquest of Greece saw many battles in which the Romans deployed war elephants, including the invasion of Macedonia in 199 BCE, the battle of Cynoscelphalae 197 BCE, [28] the battle of Thermopylae, [29] and the battle of Magnesia in 190 BCE, during which Antiochus III's fifty-four elephants took on the Roman force of sixteen. In later years the Romans deployed twenty-two elephants at Pydna in 168 BCE.[30] They also featured throughout the Roman campaign against the Celtiberians in Hispania and against the Gauls. Famously, the Romans used a war elephant in the invasion of Britain, one ancient writer recording that 'Caesar had one large elephant, which was equipped with armor and carried archers and slingers in its tower. When this unknown creature entered the river, the Britons and their horses fled and the Roman army crossed over', [31] - although he may have confused this incident with the use of a similar war elephant in Claudius' final conquest of Britain. At least one elephant skeleton with flint weapons that has been found in England was initially misidentified as these elephants, but later dating proved it to be a mammoth skeleton from the stone age.[32]


A medieval Armenian miniature representing the Sassanid Persians War elephants in the Battle of Vartanantz.
By the time of Claudius, however, such animals were being used by the Romans in single numbers only - the last significant use of war elephants in the Mediterranean was against the Romans at the battle of Thapsus, 46 BCE, where Julius Caesar armed his fifth legion (Alaudae) with axes and commanded his legionaries to strike at the elephant's legs. The legion withstood the charge, and the elephant became its symbol. Thapsus was the last significant use of elephants in the West.[33]
The Parthian dynasty of Persia occasionally used war elephants in their battles against the Roman Empire[citation needed] but elephants were of substantial importance in the army of the subsequent Sassanid dynasty.[34] The Sassanids employed the animals in many of their campaigns against their western enemies. One of the most memorable engagements was the Battle of Vartanantz in 451 AD, at which the Sassanid elephants terrified the Armenians. Another example is the Battle of al-Q?disiyyah of 636 AD, in which a unit of thirty-three elephants were used, albeit less successfully, against the invading Arab forces. The Sassanid elephant corps held primacy amongst the Sassanid's cavalry forces and was recruited from India. The elephant corps was under a special chief, known as the Zend?hapet, or "Commander of the Indians, " either because the animals came from that country, or because they were managed by natives of Hindustan.[35] The Sassanid elephant corps was never on the same scale as other further east, however, and after the fall of the Sassanid empire the use of war elephants died out in the region.
[edit]Antiquity: The Far East


War elephants in battle during the Carnatic Wars.
In China, the use of war elephants was relatively rare compared to other locations.[36][37] Their earliest recorded use took place as late as 554 AD when the Western Wei deployed two armored war elephants from Lingnan in battle, guided by Malay slaves, and equipped with wooden towers, and swords fastened onto their trunks.[36] The elephants were turned away by archers' arrows.[36]
The Han Dynasty of the 2nd century BCE fought against Yue kingdoms of South East Asia ( ancient Vietnamese) that did employ war elephants. Common tactics used to repel these elephants included massed crossbow or artillery fire, and digging pits or trenches filled with spikes.
By comparison, neighbouring states significantly embraced the use of war elephants. Sri Lankan history records indicate elephants were used as mounts for kings leading their men in the battle field, [38] with individual mounts being recorded in history. The elephant Kandula was King Dutugamunu's mount and Maha Pambata, 'Big Rock', the mount of King Elara during their historic encounter on the battlefield in 200 BCE, for example.[39] In Southeast Asia, along the borders of in modern day Vietnam, the Champan army employed up to 602 war elephant against the Sui Chinese.[40] The Sui troops led the elephants into a trap of falling into deep pits dug by them, also making extensive use of crossbows.[40]
[edit]Middle Ages


A Romanesque painting of a war elephant. Spain, 11th century.
In the Middle Ages, elephants were seldom used in Europe. Charlemagne took his elephant, Abul-Abbas, when he went to fight the Danes in 804, [41] and the Crusades gave Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II the opportunity to capture an elephant in the Holy Land, the same animal later being used in the capture of Cremona in 1214, but the use of these individual animals was more symbolic than practical.


The Khmer army waged war with elephants against the Cham in the 12th century.
Farther east, elephants continued to be used in warfare. The Mongols faced war-elephants in Khorazm, Burma, Vietnam and India throughout the 13th century.[42] Despite their unsuccessful campaigns in Vietnam and India, the Mongols defeated the war elephants outside Samarkand by using catapults and mangonels, and in Burma by showering arrows from their famous composite bow.[43] Genghis and Kublai both retained captured elephants as part of their entourage.[44] Another central Asian invader, Timur faced similar challenges a century later. In 1398 Timur's army faced more than one hundred Indian elephants in battle and almost lost because of the fear they caused amongst his troops. Historical accounts say that the Timurids ultimately won by employing an ingenious strategy: Timur tied flaming straw to the back of his camels before the charge. The smoke made the camels run forward, scaring the elephants, who crushed their own troops in their efforts to retreat. Another account of the campaign reports that Timur used oversized caltrops to halt the elephants' charge.[45] Later, the Timurid leader used the captured animals against the Ottoman Empire.
It is recorded that King Rajasinghe I, when he laid siege to the Portuguese fort at Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1558, had an army of 2200 elephants.[46] The Sri Lankans had continued their proud traditions in capturing and training elephants from ancient times. The officer in charge of the royal stables, including the capture of elephants, was called the Gajanayake Nilame, [46] whilst the post of Kuruve Lekham controlled the Kuruwe or elephant men[46] - the training of war elephants was the duty of the Kuruwe clan who came under their own Muhandiram, a Sri Lankan administrative post.


"The Great Battle of Yuthahatthi" - Siamese King Naresuan fights the Burmese crown prince near Suphanburi in Jan. 1593.
In the Southeast Asia, the powerful Khmer Empire had come to regional dominance by the 9th century AD, drawing heavily on the use of war elephants. Uniquely, the Khmer military deployed double cross-bows on the top of their elephants. With the collapse of Khmer power in the 15th century, the successor region powers of Burma (now Myanmar) and Siam (now Thailand) also adopted the widespread use of war elephants. In many battles of the period it was the practice for leaders to fight each other personally on elephants. One famous battle occurred when the Burmese army attacked Siam's Kingdom of Ayutthaya. The war was concluded when the Burmese crown prince Minchit Sra was killed by Siamese King Naresuan in personal combat on elephant in 1593.[47]
Farther north, the Chinese continued to reject the use of war elephants throughout the period, with the notable exception of the Southern Han during the 10th century AD - the "only nation on Chinese soil ever to maintain a line of elephants as a regular part of its army".[36] This anomaly in Chinese warfare is explained by the geographical proximity and close cultural links of the southern Han to Southeast Asia.[36] The military officer who commanded these elephants was given the title "Legate Digitant and Agitant of the Gigantic Elephants."[48] Each elephant supported a wooden tower that could allegedly hold ten or more men.[49] For a brief time, war elephants played a vital role in Southern Han victories such as the invasion of Chu in 948 AD, [49] but the Southern Han elephant corps were ultimately soundly defeated at Shao in 971 AD, decimated by crossbow fire from troops of the Song Dynasty.[49] As one academic has put it, "thereafter this exotic introduction into Chinese culture passed out of history, and the tactical habits of the North prevailed."[49]
[edit]Modern era


Siamese Elephant-mounted light artillery in Laos in 1893
With the advent of gunpowder warfare in the late 15th century, the balance of advantage for war elephants on the battlefield began to change. Whilst muskets had limited impact on elephants, which could withstand numerous volleys, [50] cannon fire was a different matter entirely - an animal could easily be knocked down by a single shot. With elephants still being used to carry commanders on the battlefield, they became even more tempting targets for enemy artillery.
Nonetheless, in south-east Asia the use of elephants on the battlefield continued up until the end of the 19th century. One of the major difficulties in the region was terrain, and elephants could cross difficult terrain in many cases more easily than horse cavalry. The Siamese Army was utilising war elephants armed with jingals up until the Franco-Siamese War of 1893, whilst the Vietnamese used them in battle as late as 1885, during the Sino-French War.


During World War I, elephants pulled heavy equipment. This one worked in a munitions yard in Sheffield.
Into the 20th century, non-battle-trained elephants were used for other military purposes as late as World War II, [51] particularly because the animals could perform tasks in regions that were problematic for modern vehicles. Sir William Slim, commander of the XIVth Army wrote about elephants in his introduction to "Elephant Bill": They built hundreds of bridges for us, they helped to build and launch more ships for us than Helen ever did for Greece. Without them our retreat from Burma would have been even more ardous and our advance to its liberation slower and more difficult.[52]
Elephants are now more valuable to many armies in failing states for their ivory than as transport, and many thousands of elephants have died during civil conflicts due to poaching. They are classed as a pack animal in a U.S. Special Forces field manual issued as recently as 2004, but their use by US personnel is discouraged because elephants are an endangered species.[53] The last recorded use of elephants in war occurred in 1987 when Iraq was alleged to have used them to transport heavy weaponry for use in Kirkuk.[citation needed]
[edit]Tactical use

There were many military purposes for which elephants could be used. In battle, war elephants were usually deployed in the centre of the line, where they could be useful to prevent a charge or to conduct one of their own. Their sheer size and their terrifying appearance made them valued heavy cavalry.[54] Off the battlefield, they could carry heavy materiel and provided a useful means of transport before mechanized vehicles rendered them mostly obsolete.
An elephant charge could reach about 30 km/h (20 mph), and unlike horse cavalry, could not be easily stopped by an infantry line setting spears. Such a charge was based on pure force: elephants crashing into an enemy line, trampling and swinging their tusks. Those men who were not crushed were at least knocked aside or forced back. Moreover, elephants could inspire terror in an enemy unused to fighting them - even the very disciplined Romans - and could cause the enemy to break and flee. Horses unaccustomed to the smell of elephants also panicked easily. The elephants' thick hide gave them considerable protection, whilst their height and mass offered considerable protection for their riders. Some elephants were even equipped with their own armor to further protect them. Many generals preferred to base themselves atop elephants so as to get a better view of the battlefield.


Engraving of the Battle of Zama by Cornelis Cort, 1567.
In addition to charging, the elephants could provide a safe and stable platform for archers to fire arrows in the middle of the battlefield, from which more targets could be seen and engaged. The archery evolved into more advanced weapons, and several Khmer and Indian kings used giant crossbow platforms (similar to the ballista) to fire long armor-piercing shafts to kill other enemy war elephants and cavalry. The late 16th century AD also saw the use of culverin and jingals on elephants, an adaptation to the gunpowder age that ultimately drove elephants from the battlefield.
Elephants were further enhanced with their own weaponry and armour. In Sri Lanka, heavy iron chains with steel balls at the end were tied to the trunks of war elephants, which the animals were trained to swirl menacingly and with great skill. Numerous cultures designed elephant Armour, aiming to protect the body and legs of the animal whilst leaving his trunk free to attack the enemy. Larger animals could also carry a protective tower on their backs, called a howdah.
In the Punic wars a crew of three men were used in battle: archers and potentially men armed with sarissas (six metre long pikes).[citation needed] Further east, large numbers of men were carried, with the senior commander either utilising the howdah or leading from his seat on the elephant's neck. The driver, called a mahout, was responsible for controlling the animal. In many armies, the mahout also carried a chisel-blade and a hammer to cut through the spinal cord and kill the animal if the elephant went berserk.
War elephants had tactical weaknesses, however, that enemy forces often learnt to exploit. Elephants had a tendency to panic themselves: after sustaining painful wounds or when their driver was killed they would run amok, [54] indiscriminately causing casualties as they sought escape. Their panicked retreat could inflict heavy losses on either side. Experienced Roman infantry often tried to sever their trunks, causing an instant panic, and hopefully causing the elephant to flee back into its own lines. Fast skirmishers armed with javelins were also used to drive them away, as javelins and similar weapons could madden an elephant. Elephants were often unarmoured and vulnerable to blows to their flanks, so Roman infantry armed some sort of flaming object or with a stout line of pikes, such as Triarii would often attempt to make the elephant turn to expose its flank to the infantry, making the elephant susceptible to a pike thrust or a Skirmisher's javelin. The cavalry sport of tent pegging grew out of training regimes for horsemen to incapacitate or turn back war elephants.[55] One famous historical method for disrupting elephant units was the war pig. Ancient writers believed that "elephants are scared by the smallest squeal of a pig", [56] and the vulnerability was exploited. At the Megara during the Diadochi wars, for example, the Megarians reportedly poured oil on a herd of pigs, set them alight, and drove them towards the enemy's massed war elephants. The elephants bolted in terror from the flaming squealing pigs.[57]
The value of war elephants in battle remains a contested issue. In the 19th century, it was fashionable to contrast the western, Roman focus on infantry and discipline with the eastern, exotic use of war elephants that relied merely on fear to defeat their enemy.[58] One writer commented that war elephants "have been found to be skittish and easily alarmed by unfamiliar sounds and for this reason they were found prone to break ranks and flee."[59] Nonetheless, the continued use of war elephants for several thousand years attests to their enduring value to the historical battlefield commander.
[edit]Cultural legacy



The characteristically high arches of the Amar Singh Gate, allowing elephants to pass into the fort.


Elephants in use by Indian cavalry.
The use of war elephants over the centuries has left a deep cultural legacy in many countries. Many traditional war games incorporate war elephants. Chaturanga, the ancient Indian board game from which Modern chess has gradually developed - calls its bishop Gaja, meaning elephant in Sanskrit, it is still the case in Chinese Chess. In Spanish and Arabic the bishop piece is called al-fil, and in Russian the bishop is also an elephant (????). In the Japanese Shogi game, there used to be a piece known as the "Drunken Elephant"; it was, however, dropped by order of the Emperor Go-Nara and no longer appears in the version played in contemporary Japan.
Elephant armour, originally designed for use in war, is today usually only seen in museums. One particularly fine set of Indian elephant armour is preserved at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum, whilst Indian museums across the sub-continent display other fine pieces. The architecture of India also shows the deep impact of elephant warfare over the years. War elephant adorn many military gateways, such as those at Lohagarh Fort for example, whilst some spiked, anti-elephant gates still remain, for example at Kumbhalgarh fort. Across India, older gateways are invariably much higher than their European equivalents, in order to allow elephants with howdahs to pass through underneath.
War elephants also remain a popular artistic trope, either in the Orientalist painting tradition of the 19th century, or in literature following Tolkien, who popularised a fantastic rendition of war elephants in the form of oliphaunts.
4585 days ago by Turk
Mûmakil (singular: mûmak) were animals from Harad resembling elephants. The terms mûmak and mûmakil were used by the Men of Gondor. Hobbit folklore called these creatures Oliphaunts.
The creatures are described in The Two Towers. Samwise Gamgee expresses a desire to see one and tells of Hobbit-lore of their being "big as a house" (see below). Later, Sam then sees one as big as a "moving hill." Tolkien writes that Sam's "fear and wonder" may have enlarged the animal in his eyes.
Employed as a beast of burden by the natives of Harad, the Haradrim, the mûmakil were also used in battle during the wars of the Third Age. In the War of the Ring, they were used by troops in Ithilien and in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, much like war elephants of the real world. In battle, they carried tower-like structures (corresponding to howdahs), bearing Haradrim archers. These beasts had skin so thick, it was almost impenetrable - making them almost invulnerable to arrows. The only known way to kill one was to shoot it in the eye. Also, as with real elephants, horses (other than the Haradrim's own) refused to go near them, making them effective against enemy cavalry. Tolkien implies that the creatures became extinct and that its "kin that live still in latter days are but memories of his girth and majesty."
"Oliphaunt" is also the title of a short comic poem about the beast quoted by the hobbit Samwise Gamgee, based on traditional bestiary lore from the Shire. The poem appears in The Two Towers and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.
The word oliphaunt is a variant spelling of the archaic word oliphant meaning "elephant", "ivory", "elephant-tusk", "musical horn made of an elephant tusk", or "a musical instrument resembling such a horn". The most famous use of the term in literature outside Tolkien is in The Song of Roland: the knight Roland fails to call for help at the Battle of Roncevaux using his oliphant horn until it is too late for him and his comrades. Roland's horn is echoed in The Lord of the Rings by Boromir's horn and counterposed by Helm's horn and the horns of Buckland. There are also Mûmakil in Rhûn.
4585 days ago by Turk
The African Bush Elephant or African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the larger of the two species of African elephant. Both it and the African Forest Elephant have usually been classified as a single species, known simply as the African Elephant. Some authorities still consider the currently available evidence insufficient for splitting the African Elephant into two species.[3] It is also known as the Bush Elephant.
Contents [hide]
1 Description
2 Diet
3 Social behavior
4 Predators
5 Species differences
6 Conservation
7 References
8 External links
Description


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2010)
The African Elephant is the largest living terrestrial animal, normally reaching 6 to 7.3 metres (19.7 to 24.0 ft) in length and 3.5 to 4 metres (11.5 to 13.1 ft) in height at the head, and weighing between 6, 000 to 9, 000 kg (13, 000 to 20, 000 lb)[4].
The largest on record, shot in Angola in 1965, was a bull weighing 12, 274 kg (27, 060 lb) and standing 4.2 metres (13.8 ft) high, the body of which is now mounted in the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.. (The museum's website states that the specimen weighs only 8 tons.[5]) The Bush Elephant normally moves at a rate of 6 km/h (4 mph), but it can reach a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) when scared or upset.


African Bush Elephant and her young
The animal is characterized by its large head; two large ears that cover its shoulders and radiate excess heat; a large and muscular trunk; two prominent tusks, which are well-developed in both sexes, although more commonly in males; a short neck; a large, barrel-like body; four long and heavy legs; and a relatively short tail.
The animal is protected by a heavy but flexible layer of gray-brown skin, dotted with mostly undeveloped patches of hair and long, black hair at the tip of its tail. Its back feet have three toes that form a hoof, while the number of toes on the front feet have varied between four and five. The forehead is smoother and less convex than that of the Asian Elephant.
The trunk is the most characteristic feature of the African Bush Elephant. It is formed by the fusion and elongation of the nose and upper lip, forming a flexible and strong organ made purely of muscle.
Little scientific research has been carried out into elephants' cognitive or perceptual abilities. An exception is a recent report that African Bush Elephants are able to use seismic vibrations at infrasound frequencies for communication.[6]
Diet



Elephant grasping a thorn tree
African Bush Elephants are herbivorous. Their diet varies according to their habitat; elephants living in forests, partial deserts, and grasslands all eat different proportions of herbs and tree or shrubbery leaves. Elephants inhabiting the shores of Lake Kariba have been recorded eating underwater plant life.[7] To break down the plants they consume, the African Bush Elephant has four large molars, two in each mandible of the jaw. Each of these molars is 10 cm wide and 30 cm long. Over time, these molars are worn away and new ones are grown to replace them as the elephant ages. Around the age of 15 their milk teeth are replaced by new ones that last until the age of 30, and then by another set which wear off past the age of 40, being replaced by the last set of teeth that last approximately until the age of 65–70. Not much later, the animal dies of starvation from not being able to feed correctly. There are known cases of over 80 year old specimens in captivity.
These animals typically ingest an average of 225 kg of vegetable matter daily, which is defecated without being fully digested. That, combined with the long distances that they can cover daily in search of more food, contributes notably to the dispersion of many plant seeds that germinate in the middle of a nutrient-filled feces mound. Elephants rip apart all kind of plants, and knock down trees with the tusks if they are not able to reach the tree leaves. Elephants also drink great quantities of water, over 190 liters per day.
In some national parks there is overpopulation, so that managers of overpopulated parks often contact other parks with fewer specimens to transfer excess individuals.
Social behavior



In Kenya, a bull elephant mates with a member of a female herd


A solitary old male elephant in Namibia

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2010)
The African Bush Elephant is an intelligent animal. Experiments with reasoning and learning show that they are one of the smartest mammals together with their Asian cousins.[citation needed] This is mostly due to their large brain.
Herds are made up of related females and their young, directed by the eldest female, called the matriarch. Infrequently, an adult male goes with them, but those usually leave the pack when reaching adolescence to form bachelor herds with other elephants of the same age. Later they lead a solitary life, approaching the female herds only during the mating season. Nevertheless, elephants do not get too far from their families and recognize them when re-encountered. Sometimes, several female herds can blend for a period of time, reaching even hundreds of individuals.
The matriarch is the one who decides the route and shows to each other member of the herd all the water sources she knows, which the rest will memorize in the future. The relations among the members of the herd are very tight; when a female gives birth to a baby the rest go to acknowledge it touching her with the trunk; and when an old elephant dies the rest of the herd will stay by the corpse for a while. The famous elephant graveyards are a myth, but it is true that these animals can recognize a carcass of its species when they find one during their trips, and even if it is a stranger, they form around it and sometimes they even touch its forehead with their trunk.
Mating happens when the female becomes receptive, an event that can occur anytime during the year. When she is ready, she starts emitting infrasounds that attract the males, sometimes from kilometers away. The adult males start arriving at the herd during the following days and begin fighting, causing some injuries and even broken tusks. The female shows her acceptance of the victor by rubbing her body against his. They mate, and then both go their own way. After 22 months of gestation (the longest among mammals), the female gives birth to a single 90 cm high calf which weighs more than 100 kg. The baby feeds on the mothers milk until the age of 5, but also eats solid food from as early as 6 months old. Just a few days after birth, the calf can follow the herd by foot.
Some African Bush Elephants will attack and kill rhinoceroses.[citation needed] This behavior, when it occurs, is mostly observed with younger adult male elephants who have come into musth prematurely.
Predators



Men with ivory tusks, Dar es Salaam, c. 1900
The adult African Bush Elephant generally has no natural predators due to its great size, [8] but the calves (especially the newborn) are vulnerable to lion and crocodile attacks, and (rarely) to leopard and hyena attacks. There are prides of lions who prey on both infants and juveniles especially in the drought months. Lions in Chobe National Park in Botswana have been observed for some time taking both infants (23% of elephant kills) and juveniles. Predation, as well as drought, contribute significantly to infant mortality.
Humans are the elephant's major predator. Elephants have been hunted for meat, skin, bones, and tusks. Elephant trophy hunting increased in the 19th and 20th centuries, when tourism and plantations increasingly attracted sport hunters. In 1989, hunting of the African Bush Elephant for ivory trading was forbidden, after the elephant population fell from several million at the beginning of the 20th century to fewer than 700, 000. Trophy hunting continues today. The population of African Bush Elephants was halved during the 1980s. Scientists then estimated that, if no protective measures were taken, the wild elephant would be extinct by 1995. The protection that the elephant now receives has been partially successful, but despite increasingly severe penalties imposed by governments against illegal hunting, poaching is still common. CITES still considers this species as threatened with extinction.
Species differences



Female African Bush Elephant Loxodonta africana in an English zoo. The reddish color of its skin comes from the red earth found in the area.
A 2010 genetic study confirmed that the African Bush Elephant and the African Forest Elephant are distinct species.[9] By sequencing DNA of 375 nuclear genes, scientists determined that the two species diverged around the same time as the Asian elephant and the woolly mammoth and are as distinct from one another as those two species.[10] As of December 2010, conservation organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had not distinguished between the two species of African elephants for purposes of assessing their conservation status. As of March 2010, the IUCN Red List classified African elephants as a whole as vulnerable species and the Central African elephant population (forest elephants) as Endangered.[2]
Another possible species or subspecies formerly existed, but although formally described [11][12] it has not been widely recognized by the scientific community. The North African Elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaohensis), also known as the Carthaginian Elephant or Atlas Elephant, was the animal famously used as a war elephant by Carthage in its long struggle against Rome.[13]
Conservation



Female African Bush Elephant in the Roger Williams Zoo, Providence, RI
While the species is designated as vulnerable, [2] conditions vary somewhat by region within Eastern and Southern Africa.
In 2006, an elephant slaughter was documented in southeastern Chad by aerial surveys. A series of poaching incidents, resulting in the killing of over 100 elephants, was carried out during the late spring and summer of 2006 in the vicinity of Zakouma National Park.[14] This region has a decades-old history of poaching of elephants, which has caused the elephant population of the region, which exceeded 300, 000 in 1970, to drop to approximately 10, 000 today. The African Bush Elephant officially is protected by Chadian government, but the resources and manpower provided by the government (with some European Union assistance) have proven insufficient to stop the poaching.[15]
Human encroachment into or adjacent to natural areas where Bush Elephants occur has led to recent research into methods of safely driving groups of elephants away from humans, including the discovery that playback of the recorded sounds of angry honey bees are remarkably effective at prompting elephants to flee an area.[16]

Herd of elephants in Serengeti NP, Tanzania.



Family of African Bush Elephants taking a mud bath in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya



Dusting, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
4585 days ago by Turk
The African Bush Elephant or African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the larger of the two species of African elephant. Both it and the African Forest Elephant have usually been classified as a single species, known simply as the African Elephant. Some authorities still consider the currently available evidence insufficient for splitting the African Elephant into two species.[3] It is also known as the Bush Elephant.
Contents [hide]
1 Description
2 Diet
3 Social behavior
4 Predators
5 Species differences
6 Conservation
7 References
8 External links
Description


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2010)
The African Elephant is the largest living terrestrial animal, normally reaching 6 to 7.3 metres (19.7 to 24.0 ft) in length and 3.5 to 4 metres (11.5 to 13.1 ft) in height at the head, and weighing between 6, 000 to 9, 000 kg (13, 000 to 20, 000 lb)[4].
The largest on record, shot in Angola in 1965, was a bull weighing 12, 274 kg (27, 060 lb) and standing 4.2 metres (13.8 ft) high, the body of which is now mounted in the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.. (The museum's website states that the specimen weighs only 8 tons.[5]) The Bush Elephant normally moves at a rate of 6 km/h (4 mph), but it can reach a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) when scared or upset.


African Bush Elephant and her young
The animal is characterized by its large head; two large ears that cover its shoulders and radiate excess heat; a large and muscular trunk; two prominent tusks, which are well-developed in both sexes, although more commonly in males; a short neck; a large, barrel-like body; four long and heavy legs; and a relatively short tail.
The animal is protected by a heavy but flexible layer of gray-brown skin, dotted with mostly undeveloped patches of hair and long, black hair at the tip of its tail. Its back feet have three toes that form a hoof, while the number of toes on the front feet have varied between four and five. The forehead is smoother and less convex than that of the Asian Elephant.
The trunk is the most characteristic feature of the African Bush Elephant. It is formed by the fusion and elongation of the nose and upper lip, forming a flexible and strong organ made purely of muscle.
Little scientific research has been carried out into elephants' cognitive or perceptual abilities. An exception is a recent report that African Bush Elephants are able to use seismic vibrations at infrasound frequencies for communication.[6]
Diet



Elephant grasping a thorn tree
African Bush Elephants are herbivorous. Their diet varies according to their habitat; elephants living in forests, partial deserts, and grasslands all eat different proportions of herbs and tree or shrubbery leaves. Elephants inhabiting the shores of Lake Kariba have been recorded eating underwater plant life.[7] To break down the plants they consume, the African Bush Elephant has four large molars, two in each mandible of the jaw. Each of these molars is 10 cm wide and 30 cm long. Over time, these molars are worn away and new ones are grown to replace them as the elephant ages. Around the age of 15 their milk teeth are replaced by new ones that last until the age of 30, and then by another set which wear off past the age of 40, being replaced by the last set of teeth that last approximately until the age of 65–70. Not much later, the animal dies of starvation from not being able to feed correctly. There are known cases of over 80 year old specimens in captivity.
These animals typically ingest an average of 225 kg of vegetable matter daily, which is defecated without being fully digested. That, combined with the long distances that they can cover daily in search of more food, contributes notably to the dispersion of many plant seeds that germinate in the middle of a nutrient-filled feces mound. Elephants rip apart all kind of plants, and knock down trees with the tusks if they are not able to reach the tree leaves. Elephants also drink great quantities of water, over 190 liters per day.
In some national parks there is overpopulation, so that managers of overpopulated parks often contact other parks with fewer specimens to transfer excess individuals.
Social behavior



In Kenya, a bull elephant mates with a member of a female herd


A solitary old male elephant in Namibia

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2010)
The African Bush Elephant is an intelligent animal. Experiments with reasoning and learning show that they are one of the smartest mammals together with their Asian cousins.[citation needed] This is mostly due to their large brain.
Herds are made up of related females and their young, directed by the eldest female, called the matriarch. Infrequently, an adult male goes with them, but those usually leave the pack when reaching adolescence to form bachelor herds with other elephants of the same age. Later they lead a solitary life, approaching the female herds only during the mating season. Nevertheless, elephants do not get too far from their families and recognize them when re-encountered. Sometimes, several female herds can blend for a period of time, reaching even hundreds of individuals.
The matriarch is the one who decides the route and shows to each other member of the herd all the water sources she knows, which the rest will memorize in the future. The relations among the members of the herd are very tight; when a female gives birth to a baby the rest go to acknowledge it touching her with the trunk; and when an old elephant dies the rest of the herd will stay by the corpse for a while. The famous elephant graveyards are a myth, but it is true that these animals can recognize a carcass of its species when they find one during their trips, and even if it is a stranger, they form around it and sometimes they even touch its forehead with their trunk.
Mating happens when the female becomes receptive, an event that can occur anytime during the year. When she is ready, she starts emitting infrasounds that attract the males, sometimes from kilometers away. The adult males start arriving at the herd during the following days and begin fighting, causing some injuries and even broken tusks. The female shows her acceptance of the victor by rubbing her body against his. They mate, and then both go their own way. After 22 months of gestation (the longest among mammals), the female gives birth to a single 90 cm high calf which weighs more than 100 kg. The baby feeds on the mothers milk until the age of 5, but also eats solid food from as early as 6 months old. Just a few days after birth, the calf can follow the herd by foot.
Some African Bush Elephants will attack and kill rhinoceroses.[citation needed] This behavior, when it occurs, is mostly observed with younger adult male elephants who have come into musth prematurely.
Predators



Men with ivory tusks, Dar es Salaam, c. 1900
The adult African Bush Elephant generally has no natural predators due to its great size, [8] but the calves (especially the newborn) are vulnerable to lion and crocodile attacks, and (rarely) to leopard and hyena attacks. There are prides of lions who prey on both infants and juveniles especially in the drought months. Lions in Chobe National Park in Botswana have been observed for some time taking both infants (23% of elephant kills) and juveniles. Predation, as well as drought, contribute significantly to infant mortality.
Humans are the elephant's major predator. Elephants have been hunted for meat, skin, bones, and tusks. Elephant trophy hunting increased in the 19th and 20th centuries, when tourism and plantations increasingly attracted sport hunters. In 1989, hunting of the African Bush Elephant for ivory trading was forbidden, after the elephant population fell from several million at the beginning of the 20th century to fewer than 700, 000. Trophy hunting continues today. The population of African Bush Elephants was halved during the 1980s. Scientists then estimated that, if no protective measures were taken, the wild elephant would be extinct by 1995. The protection that the elephant now receives has been partially successful, but despite increasingly severe penalties imposed by governments against illegal hunting, poaching is still common. CITES still considers this species as threatened with extinction.
Species differences



Female African Bush Elephant Loxodonta africana in an English zoo. The reddish color of its skin comes from the red earth found in the area.
A 2010 genetic study confirmed that the African Bush Elephant and the African Forest Elephant are distinct species.[9] By sequencing DNA of 375 nuclear genes, scientists determined that the two species diverged around the same time as the Asian elephant and the woolly mammoth and are as distinct from one another as those two species.[10] As of December 2010, conservation organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had not distinguished between the two species of African elephants for purposes of assessing their conservation status. As of March 2010, the IUCN Red List classified African elephants as a whole as vulnerable species and the Central African elephant population (forest elephants) as Endangered.[2]
Another possible species or subspecies formerly existed, but although formally described [11][12] it has not been widely recognized by the scientific community. The North African Elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaohensis), also known as the Carthaginian Elephant or Atlas Elephant, was the animal famously used as a war elephant by Carthage in its long struggle against Rome.[13]
Conservation



Female African Bush Elephant in the Roger Williams Zoo, Providence, RI
While the species is designated as vulnerable, [2] conditions vary somewhat by region within Eastern and Southern Africa.
In 2006, an elephant slaughter was documented in southeastern Chad by aerial surveys. A series of poaching incidents, resulting in the killing of over 100 elephants, was carried out during the late spring and summer of 2006 in the vicinity of Zakouma National Park.[14] This region has a decades-old history of poaching of elephants, which has caused the elephant population of the region, which exceeded 300, 000 in 1970, to drop to approximately 10, 000 today. The African Bush Elephant officially is protected by Chadian government, but the resources and manpower provided by the government (with some European Union assistance) have proven insufficient to stop the poaching.[15]
Human encroachment into or adjacent to natural areas where Bush Elephants occur has led to recent research into methods of safely driving groups of elephants away from humans, including the discovery that playback of the recorded sounds of angry honey bees are remarkably effective at prompting elephants to flee an area.[16]

Herd of elephants in Serengeti NP, Tanzania.



Family of African Bush Elephants taking a mud bath in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya



Dusting, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
4585 days ago by Turk
The African Bush Elephant or African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the larger of the two species of African elephant. Both it and the African Forest Elephant have usually been classified as a single species, known simply as the African Elephant. Some authorities still consider the currently available evidence insufficient for splitting the African Elephant into two species.[3] It is also known as the Bush Elephant.
Contents [hide]
1 Description
2 Diet
3 Social behavior
4 Predators
5 Species differences
6 Conservation
7 References
8 External links
Description


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2010)
The African Elephant is the largest living terrestrial animal, normally reaching 6 to 7.3 metres (19.7 to 24.0 ft) in length and 3.5 to 4 metres (11.5 to 13.1 ft) in height at the head, and weighing between 6, 000 to 9, 000 kg (13, 000 to 20, 000 lb)[4].
The largest on record, shot in Angola in 1965, was a bull weighing 12, 274 kg (27, 060 lb) and standing 4.2 metres (13.8 ft) high, the body of which is now mounted in the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.. (The museum's website states that the specimen weighs only 8 tons.[5]) The Bush Elephant normally moves at a rate of 6 km/h (4 mph), but it can reach a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) when scared or upset.


African Bush Elephant and her young
The animal is characterized by its large head; two large ears that cover its shoulders and radiate excess heat; a large and muscular trunk; two prominent tusks, which are well-developed in both sexes, although more commonly in males; a short neck; a large, barrel-like body; four long and heavy legs; and a relatively short tail.
The animal is protected by a heavy but flexible layer of gray-brown skin, dotted with mostly undeveloped patches of hair and long, black hair at the tip of its tail. Its back feet have three toes that form a hoof, while the number of toes on the front feet have varied between four and five. The forehead is smoother and less convex than that of the Asian Elephant.
The trunk is the most characteristic feature of the African Bush Elephant. It is formed by the fusion and elongation of the nose and upper lip, forming a flexible and strong organ made purely of muscle.
Little scientific research has been carried out into elephants' cognitive or perceptual abilities. An exception is a recent report that African Bush Elephants are able to use seismic vibrations at infrasound frequencies for communication.[6]
Diet



Elephant grasping a thorn tree
African Bush Elephants are herbivorous. Their diet varies according to their habitat; elephants living in forests, partial deserts, and grasslands all eat different proportions of herbs and tree or shrubbery leaves. Elephants inhabiting the shores of Lake Kariba have been recorded eating underwater plant life.[7] To break down the plants they consume, the African Bush Elephant has four large molars, two in each mandible of the jaw. Each of these molars is 10 cm wide and 30 cm long. Over time, these molars are worn away and new ones are grown to replace them as the elephant ages. Around the age of 15 their milk teeth are replaced by new ones that last until the age of 30, and then by another set which wear off past the age of 40, being replaced by the last set of teeth that last approximately until the age of 65–70. Not much later, the animal dies of starvation from not being able to feed correctly. There are known cases of over 80 year old specimens in captivity.
These animals typically ingest an average of 225 kg of vegetable matter daily, which is defecated without being fully digested. That, combined with the long distances that they can cover daily in search of more food, contributes notably to the dispersion of many plant seeds that germinate in the middle of a nutrient-filled feces mound. Elephants rip apart all kind of plants, and knock down trees with the tusks if they are not able to reach the tree leaves. Elephants also drink great quantities of water, over 190 liters per day.
In some national parks there is overpopulation, so that managers of overpopulated parks often contact other parks with fewer specimens to transfer excess individuals.
Social behavior



In Kenya, a bull elephant mates with a member of a female herd


A solitary old male elephant in Namibia

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2010)
The African Bush Elephant is an intelligent animal. Experiments with reasoning and learning show that they are one of the smartest mammals together with their Asian cousins.[citation needed] This is mostly due to their large brain.
Herds are made up of related females and their young, directed by the eldest female, called the matriarch. Infrequently, an adult male goes with them, but those usually leave the pack when reaching adolescence to form bachelor herds with other elephants of the same age. Later they lead a solitary life, approaching the female herds only during the mating season. Nevertheless, elephants do not get too far from their families and recognize them when re-encountered. Sometimes, several female herds can blend for a period of time, reaching even hundreds of individuals.
The matriarch is the one who decides the route and shows to each other member of the herd all the water sources she knows, which the rest will memorize in the future. The relations among the members of the herd are very tight; when a female gives birth to a baby the rest go to acknowledge it touching her with the trunk; and when an old elephant dies the rest of the herd will stay by the corpse for a while. The famous elephant graveyards are a myth, but it is true that these animals can recognize a carcass of its species when they find one during their trips, and even if it is a stranger, they form around it and sometimes they even touch its forehead with their trunk.
Mating happens when the female becomes receptive, an event that can occur anytime during the year. When she is ready, she starts emitting infrasounds that attract the males, sometimes from kilometers away. The adult males start arriving at the herd during the following days and begin fighting, causing some injuries and even broken tusks. The female shows her acceptance of the victor by rubbing her body against his. They mate, and then both go their own way. After 22 months of gestation (the longest among mammals), the female gives birth to a single 90 cm high calf which weighs more than 100 kg. The baby feeds on the mothers milk until the age of 5, but also eats solid food from as early as 6 months old. Just a few days after birth, the calf can follow the herd by foot.
Some African Bush Elephants will attack and kill rhinoceroses.[citation needed] This behavior, when it occurs, is mostly observed with younger adult male elephants who have come into musth prematurely.
Predators



Men with ivory tusks, Dar es Salaam, c. 1900
The adult African Bush Elephant generally has no natural predators due to its great size, [8] but the calves (especially the newborn) are vulnerable to lion and crocodile attacks, and (rarely) to leopard and hyena attacks. There are prides of lions who prey on both infants and juveniles especially in the drought months. Lions in Chobe National Park in Botswana have been observed for some time taking both infants (23% of elephant kills) and juveniles. Predation, as well as drought, contribute significantly to infant mortality.
Humans are the elephant's major predator. Elephants have been hunted for meat, skin, bones, and tusks. Elephant trophy hunting increased in the 19th and 20th centuries, when tourism and plantations increasingly attracted sport hunters. In 1989, hunting of the African Bush Elephant for ivory trading was forbidden, after the elephant population fell from several million at the beginning of the 20th century to fewer than 700, 000. Trophy hunting continues today. The population of African Bush Elephants was halved during the 1980s. Scientists then estimated that, if no protective measures were taken, the wild elephant would be extinct by 1995. The protection that the elephant now receives has been partially successful, but despite increasingly severe penalties imposed by governments against illegal hunting, poaching is still common. CITES still considers this species as threatened with extinction.
Species differences



Female African Bush Elephant Loxodonta africana in an English zoo. The reddish color of its skin comes from the red earth found in the area.
A 2010 genetic study confirmed that the African Bush Elephant and the African Forest Elephant are distinct species.[9] By sequencing DNA of 375 nuclear genes, scientists determined that the two species diverged around the same time as the Asian elephant and the woolly mammoth and are as distinct from one another as those two species.[10] As of December 2010, conservation organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had not distinguished between the two species of African elephants for purposes of assessing their conservation status. As of March 2010, the IUCN Red List classified African elephants as a whole as vulnerable species and the Central African elephant population (forest elephants) as Endangered.[2]
Another possible species or subspecies formerly existed, but although formally described [11][12] it has not been widely recognized by the scientific community. The North African Elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaohensis), also known as the Carthaginian Elephant or Atlas Elephant, was the animal famously used as a war elephant by Carthage in its long struggle against Rome.[13]
Conservation



Female African Bush Elephant in the Roger Williams Zoo, Providence, RI
While the species is designated as vulnerable, [2] conditions vary somewhat by region within Eastern and Southern Africa.
In 2006, an elephant slaughter was documented in southeastern Chad by aerial surveys. A series of poaching incidents, resulting in the killing of over 100 elephants, was carried out during the late spring and summer of 2006 in the vicinity of Zakouma National Park.[14] This region has a decades-old history of poaching of elephants, which has caused the elephant population of the region, which exceeded 300, 000 in 1970, to drop to approximately 10, 000 today. The African Bush Elephant officially is protected by Chadian government, but the resources and manpower provided by the government (with some European Union assistance) have proven insufficient to stop the poaching.[15]
Human encroachment into or adjacent to natural areas where Bush Elephants occur has led to recent research into methods of safely driving groups of elephants away from humans, including the discovery that playback of the recorded sounds of angry honey bees are remarkably effective at prompting elephants to flee an area.[16]

Herd of elephants in Serengeti NP, Tanzania.



Family of African Bush Elephants taking a mud bath in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya



Dusting, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
4585 days ago by Turk
The African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is a forest dwelling elephant of the Congo Basin. Formerly considered either a synonym or a subspecies of the African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana), a 2010 study established that the two are distinct species.[2][3] The disputed Pygmy Elephants of the Congo basin, often assumed to be a separate species (Loxodonta pumilio) by cryptozoologists, are probably Forest Elephants whose diminutive size and/or early maturity is due to environmental conditions.[4]


African forest elephant male in a forest clearing, Gabon.
Differences include the African Forest Elephant's long, narrow mandible (the African Bush Elephant's is short and wide), its rounded ears (an African Bush Elephant's ears are more pointed), straighter and downward tusks, considerably smaller size, and number of toenails. The male African Forest Elephant rarely exceeds 2.5 metres (8 ft) in height, while the African Bush Elephant is usually over 3 metres (just under 10 feet) and sometimes almost 4 metres (13 ft) tall. With regard to the number of toenails: the African Bush Elephant normally has 4 toenails on the frontfoot and 3 on the hindfoot, the African Forest Elephant normally has 5 toenails on the frontfoot and 4 on the hindfoot (like the Asian elephant), but hybrids between the two species occur. The African Forest Elephant is an herbivore and commonly eats leaves, fruit, bark, and occasionally visits mineral licks. They eat a high proportion of fruit and are sometimes the only disperser of some tree species such as Balanites wilsoniana and Omphalocarpum spp.
Owing to poaching and the high demand for ivory, the African Forest Elephant population approached critical levels in the 1990s and early 2000s.[5][6] Late in the 20th century, conservation workers established a DNA identification system to trace the origin of poached ivory. It had long been known that the ivory of the African Forest Elephant was particularly hard, with a pinkish tinge, and straight (whereas that of the African Bush Elephant is curved). The DNA tests, however, indicated that the two populations were much more different than previously appreciated — indeed, in its genetic makeup, the African Forest Elephant is almost two-thirds as distinct from the African Bush Elephant as the Asian Elephant is.[citation needed]
4585 days ago by Turk
The Asian or Asiatic elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and distributed in Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognized — Elephas maximus maximus from Sri Lanka, the Indian elephant or E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra.[1] Asian elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.[3]
Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is pre-eminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.[2] In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41, 410 and 52, 345 individuals.[4]
Asian elephants are rather long-lived, with a maximum recorded life span of 86 years.
This animal is widely domesticated, and has been used in forestry in South and Southeast Asia for centuries and also for ceremonial purposes. Historical sources indicate that they were used during harvest seasons primarily for milling. Wild elephants attract tourist money to the areas where they can most readily be seen, but damage crops, and may enter villages to raid gardens.
Contents [hide]
1 Characteristics
1.1 Size
1.2 Trunk
1.3 Tusks
1.4 Skin
1.5 Intelligence
2 Distribution and habitat
3 Behavior
3.1 Male behavior
3.2 Female behavior
4 Interaction with humans
5 Captivity
6 Taxonomy
7 Predators
8 Conservation issues
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links
Characteristics



Illustration of an elephant skeleton[5]


The Borneo elephant is smaller than other Asian elephant subspecies, and has relatively large ears, a longer tail, and straighter tusks.
In general, Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and have the highest body point on the head. Their back is convex or level. Their ears are small with dorsal borders folded laterally. They have up to 20 pairs of ribs and 34 caudal vertebrae. Their feet have more nail-like structures than the ones of African elephants — five on each forefoot, and four on each hind foot.[3]
Size
The huge bull elephants weigh an average of 5, 260 kg (11, 600 lb) and are typically 2.75 m (9.0 ft) high at the shoulder. Females weigh on average about 3, 202 kg (7, 060 lb) and stand about 2.45 m (8.0 ft) at the shoulder. The skeleton constitutes about 15% of their body weight.[3]
The sizes of wild Asian elephants have been exaggerated in the past. Record elephants may have measured as high as 3.7 m (12 ft) at the shoulder. Shoulder height is estimated using the rule of thumb of twice the forefoot circumference.[5]
Richard Lydekker documents sizes observed in the 19th century:
The height of the adult male usually does not exceed nine feet [2.7 m], and that of the female eight feet [2.4 m]; but these dimensions are occasionally considerably exceeded. George P. Sanderson measured a male standing nine feet seven inches [2.9 m] at the shoulder, and measuring twenty-six feet two and one-half inches [8 m] from the tip of the trunk to the extremity of the tail; and he records others respectively reaching nine feet eight inches [2.9 m] and nine feet ten inches [3 m] at the shoulder. An elephant shot by General Kinloch stood upward of ten feet one inch [3.1 m]; and another measured by Sanderson ten feet seven and one-half inches [3.2 m]. These dimensions are, however, exceeded by a specimen killed by the late Sir Victor Brooke, which is reported to have reached a height of eleven feet [3.4 m]: and there is a rumor of a Ceylon elephant of twelve feet [3.7 m]. That such giants may occasionally exist is indicated by a skeleton in the Museum at Calcutta, which is believed to have belonged to an individual living between 1856 and 1860 in the neighborhood of the Rajamahal hills, in Bengal. As now mounted this enormous skeleton stands eleven feet three inches [3.4 m] at the shoulders, but Mr. O. S. Fraser, in a letter to the Asian newspaper, states that it is made to stand too low, and that its true height was several inches more. If this be so, there can be no doubt that, when alive, this elephant must have stood fully twelve feet.[5]
The heaviest elephant recorded was shot by the Maharajah of Susang in the Garo Hills of Assam, India in 1924, and was 8 tonnes (8.8 short tons), 3.35 m (11.0 ft) tall and 8.06 m (26.4 ft) long.[6]
Trunk
Their trunk is a multi-purpose prehensile organ and highly sensitive, innervated by the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve and by the facial nerve. The tip of their trunk has one finger-like process. Elephants use their trunks for feeding, watering, dusting, smelling, touching, breathing, sound production and communication, washing, pinching, grasping, defense and offense.[3] The trunk is an amazing organ of extreme dexterity: it is the single most important feature of an elephant, and gives the Order Proboscidea its name. The trunk is very strong, which is its ideal tool for eating. It is a fusion between the nose and upper lip, and consists of some 100, 000 muscle units, which allow elephants to move their trunk with a wide range of movement.
The trunk can hold 8.5 litres. If they get in fights with wild monkeys they use their trunks to toss them or hit them against rocks or trees.[citation needed]
Tusks
Tusks serve to dig for water, salt, and rocks, to debark trees, as levers for maneuvering fallen trees and branches, for work, for display, for marking trees, as weapon for attack and defense, as trunk-rests, as protection for the trunk. They are known to be right or left tusked.[3]
Female Asian elephants usually lacks tusks; if tusks — in that case called "tushes" — are present, they are barely visible, and only seen when they open the mouth. The enamel plates of the molars are greater in number and closer together in Asian elephants. Some males may also lack tusks; these individuals are called "filsy makhnas", and are especially common among the Sri Lankan elephant population. Furthermore, the forehead has two hemispherical bulges, unlike the flat front of the African elephant. Unlike African elephants which rarely use their forefeet for anything other than digging or scraping soil, Asian elephants are more agile at using their feet in conjunction with the trunk for manipulating objects. They can sometimes be known for their violent behavior.[7]
A record tusk described by George P. Sanderson measured 5 ft (1.5 m) along the curve, with a birth of 16 in (41 cm) at the point of emergence from the jaw, the weight being 1041?2 lb (47 kg). This was from an elephant killed by Sir V. Brooke and measured 8 ft (2.4 m) in length, and nearly 17 in (43 cm) in circumference, and weighed 90 lb (41 kg). The tusk's weight was, however, exceeded by the weight of a shorter tusk of about 6 ft (1.8 m) in length which weighed 100 lb (45 kg).[5]
Skin



An Asian Elephant fans itself with dust at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, Japan.
Skin color is usually gray, and may be masked by dirt because of dusting and wallowing. Their wrinkled skin is movable and contains many nerve centers. It is smoother than of African elephants, and may be depigmented on the trunk, ears, or neck. The epidermis and dermis of the body average 18 mm (0.71 in) thick; skin on the dorsum is 30 mm (1.2 in) thick providing protection against bites, bumps, and adverse weather. Its folds increase surface area for heat dissipation. They can tolerate cold better than excessive heat. Skin temperature varies from 24 to 32.9 °C (75 to 91 °F). Body temperature averages 35.9 °C (96.6 °F).[3]
Intelligence
Asian elephants are highly intelligent and self-aware.[8] They have a very large and highly convoluted neocortex, a trait also shared by humans, apes and certain dolphin species. Asian elephants have the greatest volume of cerebral cortex available for cognitive processing of all existing land animals. Elephants have a volume of cerebral cortex available for cognitive processing that exceeds that of any primate species, and extensive studies place elephants in the category of great apes in terms of cognitive abilities for tool use and tool making. Elephants have been known to go to safer ground during natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes.[9]
See also: Elephant intelligence
Distribution and habitat

Asian elephants inhabit grasslands, tropical evergreen forest, semi-evergreen forest, moist deciduous forest, dry deciduous forested and dry thorn forest, in addition to cultivated and secondary forests and scrublands. Over this range of habitat types elephants are seen from sea level to over 3, 000 m (9, 800 ft). In the Eastern Himalaya in northeast India, they regularly move up above 3, 000 m (9, 800 ft) in summer at a few sites.[10]
Three subspecies are recognized:[2][3]
the Sri Lankan Elephant lives in Sri Lanka;
the Indian Elephant lives in mainland Asia: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malay Peninsular, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and China;
the Sumatran Elephant lives in Sumatra and Borneo.
In China, Asian elephants survive only in the prefectures of Xishuangbanna, Simao, and Lincang of southern Yunnan. In Bangladesh only isolated populations survive in the Chittagong Hills.[11]
Behavior



A herd of wild Indian elephants in the Jim Corbett National Park, India
In the wild, elephant herds follow well-defined seasonal migration routes. These are made around the monsoon seasons, often between the wet and dry zones, and it is the task of the eldest elephant to remember and follow the traditional migration routes.[citation needed] When human farms are founded along these old routes there is often considerable damage done to crops, and it is common for elephants to be killed in the ensuing conflicts. The adult Asian Elephant has no natural predators, but young elephants may fall prey to tigers.
Elephants' life spans have been exaggerated in the past; they live on average for 60 years in the wild and 80 in captivity.[3] They eat 10% of their body weight each day, which for adults is between 170 and 200 kilograms of food per day. They need 80–200 litres of water a day and use even more for bathing. At times they scrape the soil for minerals and occasionally will eat their own faeces if hungry.
Elephants use infrasound to communicate; this was first noted by the Indian naturalist M. Krishnan and later studied by Katharine Payne.[12]
Male behavior
Bull elephants may form small groups known as 'bachelor herds', but bulls may also roam independently at various times.
Bulls will fight one another to get access to estrous females. Males reach sexual maturity around age 12–15 (younger in captivity). Between the age of 10 to 20 years, bulls undergo an annual phenomenon known as "musth". This is a period where the testosterone level is high (up to 100 times greater than non-musth periods) and they become extremely aggressive. Secretions containing pheromones occur during this period, from the paired temporal glands located on the head between the lateral edge of the eye and the base of the ear.[13]
Female behavior


Baby elephant Gabi and his mother Tamar at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, 2007
Female elephants live in small groups. They have a matriarchal society, and the group is led by the oldest female. The herd consists of relatives. An individual reaches sexual maturity at 9–15 years of age. The gestation period is 18–22 months, and the female gives birth to one calf, or occasionally twins. The calf is fully developed by the 19th month but stays in the womb to grow so that it can reach its mother to feed. At birth, the calf weighs about 100 kg (220 lb), and is suckled for up to 2–3 years. Once a female gives birth, she usually does not breed again until the first calf is weaned, resulting in a 4–5-year birth interval. Females stay on with the herd, but mature males are chased away.
Females produce sex pheromones; a principal component thereof, (Z)-7-dodecen-1-yl acetate, has also been found to be a sex pheromone in numerous species of insects.[14][15]
Interaction with humans



Mahouts washing an elephant, Thrissur, Kerala.
At most seasons of the year Asian elephants are timid and much more ready to flee from a foe than to make an attack. However, solitary rogues are frequently an exception to this rule, and sometimes make unprovoked attacks on passers-by. Rogue elephants sometimes take up a position near a road making it impassable to travellers. Females with calves are at all times dangerous to approach. Contrary to what is stated to be the case with the African species, when an Asian elephant makes a charge, it tightly curls up its trunk and attacks by trampling its victim with feet or knees, or, if a male, by pinning it to the ground with its tusks. During musth bulls are highly dangerous, not only to human beings but also to its fellow animals. At the first indications, domestic elephants are secured tightly to prevent any mishaps;[5] xylazine is also used.
Across its range, the human-elephant conflict[clarification needed] is a major conservation issue.[16][17]
While elephant charges are often displays of aggression that do not go beyond threats some elephants, such as rogues, may actually attack.
In regard to movement on land, Mr. Sanderson says that "the only pace of the elephant is the walk, capable of being increased to a fast shuffle of about fifteen miles (24 km) an hour for very short distances. It can neither trot, canter, nor gallop. It does not move with the legs on the same side together, but nearly so. A very good runner might keep out of an elephant's way on a smooth piece of turf, but on the ground in which they are generally met with, any attempt to escape by flight, unless supplemented by concealment, would be unavailing." When an elephant does charge, it requires all the coolness and presence of mind of the sportsman to avoid a catastrophe- "A grander animated object, " writes Mr. Sanderson, "than a wild elephant in full charge can hardly be imagined. The cocked ears and broad forehead present an immense frontage; the head is held high, with the trunk curled between the tusks, to be uncoiled in the moment of attack; the massive fore-legs come down with the force and regularity of ponderous machinery; and the whole figure is rapidly foreshortened, and appears to double in size with each advancing stride. The trunk being curled and unable to emit any sound, the attack is made in silence, after the usual premonitory shriek, which adds to its impressiveness. The usual pictorial representations of the Indian elephant charging with upraised trunk are accordingly quite incorrect."[5]
Captivity



Used for tourism throughout Asia


At this elephant training camp, captive elephants are taught to handle logs.


The elephant namely Soman at the elephant training centre, Konni, Pathanamthitta


Sri Lankan Elephants at Esala Perahera
Elephants have been captured from the wild and tamed for use by humans. Their ability to work under instruction makes them particularly useful for carrying heavy objects. They have been used particularly for timber-carrying in jungle areas. Other than their work use, they have been used in war, in ceremonies, and for carriage. They have been used for their ability to travel over difficult terrain by hunters, for whom they served as mobile hunting platforms. The same purpose is met in safaris in modern times.
The first historical record of domestication of Asian elephants was in Harappan times.[18] Ultimately the elephant went on to become a siege engine, a mount in war, a status symbol, a work animal, and an elevated platform for hunting during historical times in South Asia.[19]
The elephant plays an important part in the culture of the subcontinent and beyond, featuring prominently in Jataka tales and the Panchatantra. It plays a major role in Hinduism: the god Ganesha's head is that of an elephant, and the "blessings" of a temple elephant are highly valued. Elephants have been used in processions in Kerala where the animals are adorned with festive outfits. They were also used by almost all armies in India as war elephants, terrifying opponents unused to the massive beast.
Taxonomy

Carl Linnaeus first described the genus Elephas and an elephant from Ceylon under the binomial Elephas maximus in 1758.[20] In 1798, Georges Cuvier first described the Indian elephant under the binomial Elephas indicus.[21] In 1847, Coenraad Jacob Temminck first described the Sumatran elephant under the binomial Elephas sumatranus.[22] Frederick Nutter Chasen classified all three as subspecies of the Asian elephant in 1940.[23]
In 1950, Paules Edward Pieris Deraniyagala described the Borneo elephant under the trinomial Elephas maximus borneensis, taking as his type an illustration in the National Geographical Magazine, but not a living elephant in accordance with the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.[24] E. m. borneensis lives in northern Borneo and is smaller than all the other subspecies, but with larger ears, a longer tail, and straight tusks. Results of genetic analysis indicate that its ancestors separated from the mainland population about 300, 000 years ago.[25]
The population in Vietnam and Laos is tested to determine if it is a subspecies as well. This research is considered vital as there are less than 1300 wild Asian elephants remaining in Laos.[26]
In addition, two extinct subspecies are considered to have existed:
The Chinese Elephant is sometimes separated as E. m. rubridens (pink-tusked elephant); it disappeared after the 14th century BC.
The Syrian Elephant (E. m. asurus), the westernmost and the largest subspecies of the Asian elephant, became extinct around 100 BC. This population, along with the Indian elephant, was considered the best war elephant in antiquity, and was found superior to the smallish North African Elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaoensis) used by the armies of Carthage.
Predators

An adult full grown healthy male Asian elephant has hardly any natural predators, but there have been rare instances of tigers preying on young or weak elephants.
Conservation issues

Besides habitat loss and poaching, development such as border fencing along the India-Bangladesh border has become a major impediment to the free movement of elephants.[27]
4585 days ago by Turk
The Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to mainland Asia. Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is pre-eminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.[1]
Contents [hide]
1 Characteristics
2 Distribution and habitat
3 Ecology and behaviour
4 Threats
5 Conservation
6 See also
7 References
8 Further reading
9 External links
Characteristics

In general, Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and have the highest body point on the head. The tip of their trunk has one finger-like process. Their back is convex or level.[2] Indian elephants reach a shoulder height of between 2 and 3.5 m (6.6 and 11.5 ft), weigh between 2, 000 and 5, 000 kg (4, 400 and 11, 000 lb), and have 19 pairs of ribs. Their skin color is lighter than of maximus with smaller patches of depigmentation, but darker than of sumatranus. Females are usually smaller than males, and have short or no tusks.[3]
The largest Indian elephant was 3.43 metres (11.3 ft) high at the shoulder.[4] In 1985, two large elephant bulls were spotted for the first time in Bardia National Park, and named Raja Gaj and Kanchha. They roamed the park area together and made occasional visits to the females. Raja Gaj stood 11.3 ft (3.4 m) tall at the shoulder and had a massive body weight. His appearance has been compared to that of a mammoth due to his high bi-domed shaped head. His forehead and domes were more prominent than in other Asian bull elephants.[5]
Indian elephants have smaller ears, but relatively broader skulls and larger trunks than African elephants. Toes are large and broad. Unlike their African cousins, their abdomen is proportionate with their body weight but the African elephant has a large abdomen as compared to the skulls.
Distribution and habitat



Wild elephants in Munnar, Kerala


An elephant herd in Jim Corbett National Park


A wild elephant in Bandipur National Park


Elephant bathing in Nagarhole National Park
Indian elephants are native to mainland Asia: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malay Peninsular, Laos, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam. They inhabit grasslands, dry deciduous, moist deciduous, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. In the early 1990s, their estimated population size was[6]
26, 390–30, 770 in India, where populations are restricted to four general areas:
in the Northwest — at the foot of the Himalayas in Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh, ranging from Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary to the Yamuna River;
in the Northeast — from the eastern border of Nepal in northern West Bengal through western Assam along the Himalaya foothills as far as the Mishmi Hills, extending into eastern Arunachal Pradesh, the plains of upper Assam, and the foothills of Nagaland, to the Garo Hills of Meghalaya through the Khasi Hills, to parts of the lower Brahmaputra plains and Karbi Plateau; isolated herds occur in Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, and in the Barak Valley districts of Assam:
in the central part — in Orissa, Jharkhand, and in the southern part of West Bengal, with some animals wandering into Chattisgarh;
in the South — eight populations are fragmented from each other in northern Karnataka, in the crestline of Karnataka–Western Ghats, in Bhadra–Malnad, in Brahmagiri–Nilgiris–Eastern Ghats, in Nilambur–Silent Valley–Coimbatore, in Anamalai–Parambikulam, in Periyar–Srivilliputhur, and one in Agasthyamalai;
100–125 in Nepal, where their range is restricted to a few protected areas in the Terai along the border with India. In 2002, estimates ranged from 106 to 172 resident and migratory elephants, with most of them in Bardia National Park;[7]
150–250 in Bangladesh, where only isolated populations survive in the Chittagong Hills;
250–500 in Bhutan, where their range is limited to protected areas in the south along the border with India;
4, 000–5, 000 in Myanmar, where populations are highly fragmented, and occur in the northern and western hill ranges, in Pegu Yoma of central Myanmar, Tenasserim and Shan State;
2, 500–3, 200 in Thailand, mainly in the mountains along the border with Myanmar, with smaller fragmented populations occurring in the peninsula in the south;
2, 100–3, 100 in Malaysia;
500–1, 000 Laos, where they remain widely but patchily distributed in forested areas, both in the highlands and lowlands;
200–250 in China, where they survive only in the prefectures of Xishuangbanna, Simao, and Lincang of southern Yunnan;
250–600 in Cambodia, where they primarily inhabit the mountains of the south-west and in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri Provinces;
70–150 in the southern parts of Vietnam.
.

.
Ecology and behaviour

The movement and habitat utilization patterns of an elephant population were studied in southern India during 1981–83 within a 1, 130 km2 (440 sq mi) study area. The area encompasses a diversity of vegetation types — from dry thorn forest at 250 to 400 m (820 to 1, 300 ft) of altitude through deciduous forest (400 to 1, 400 m (1, 300 to 4, 600 ft)) to stunted evergreen shola forest and grassland (1, 400 to 1, 800 m (4, 600 to 5, 900 ft)). Five different elephant clans, each consisting of between 50 and 200 individuals had home ranges of between 105 km2 (41 sq mi) and 320 km2 (120 sq mi), which overlapped. Seasonal habitat preferences were related to the availability of water and the palatability of food plants. During the dry months of January to April, elephants congregated at high densities of up to five individuals per km2 in river valleys where browse plants had a much higher protein content than the coarse tall grasses on hill slopes. With the onset of rains in May, they dispersed over a wider area at lower densities, largely into the tall grass forests, to feed on the fresh grasses, which then had a high protein value. During the second wet season from September to December, when the tall grasses became fibrous, they moved into lower elevation short grass open forests. The normal movement pattern could be upset during years of adverse environmental conditions. However, the movement pattern of elephants in this region has not basically changed for over a century, as inferred from descriptions recorded during the 19th century.[8]
In the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve three elephant clans had overall home ranges of 562 km2 (217 sq mi), 670 km2 (260 sq mi) and 799 km2 (308 sq mi) in the beginning of the 1990s. During three years of survey, their annual home ranges overlapped to a large extent with only minor shifts in the home ranges between years.[9]
Elephants are classified as megaherbivores and consume up to 150 kg (330 lb) of plant matter per day.[10] They are generalist feeders, and both grazers and browsers. In a study area of 1, 130 km2 (440 sq mi) in southern India, elephants were recorded to feed on 112 different plant species, most commonly of the order Malvales, and the legume, palm, sedge and true grass families. They graze on the tall grasses, but the portion consumed varies with season. When the new flush appears in April, they remove the tender blades in small clumps. Later, when grasses are higher than 0.5 m (1.6 ft), they uproot entire clumps, dust them skilfully and consume the fresh leave tops, but discard the roots. When grasses are mature in autumn, they clean and consume the succulent basal portions with the roots, and discard the fibrous blades. From the bamboos, they eat seedlings, culms and lateral shoots. During the dry season from January to April, browse constitutes a major food resource. They take both leaves and twigs preferring the fresh foliage, and consume thorn bearing shoots of acacia species without any obvious discomfort. They feed on the bark of white thorn and other flowering plants, and consume the fruits of wood apple, tamarind, kumbhi and date palm. [11]
In Nepal’s Bardia National Park, elephants consume large amounts of the floodplain grass, particularly during the monsoon season. They browse more in the dry season with bark constituting a major part of their diet in the cool part of that season.[12] During a study in a tropical moist mixed deciduous forested area of 160 km2 (62 sq mi) in Assam, elephants were observed to feed on about 20 species of grasses, plants and trees. Grasses such as Imperata cylindrica and Leersia hexandra constituted by far the most predominant component of their diet.[13]
Threats

Loss of significant extents of elephant range and suitable habitat continues; their free movement is impeded by reservoirs, hydroelectric projects and associated canals, irrigation dams, numerous pockets of cultivation and plantations, highways, railway lines, mining and industrial development.[6]
Elephant conservation in northern West Bengal has been set back due to high-levels of human–elephant conflict and elephant mortality owing to railway accidents. The railway track between Siliguri and Alipurduar passes through 74 km of various forest divisions. Every day, 20 trains run on this track at high speeds. Elephants that pass through from one forest patch to another dash against the trains and die. A total of 39 dead elephants were reported during the period of 1958 to 2008, of which ten were reported killed between 2004 to 2008.[14]
In Bangladesh, forested areas that served as prime elephant habitat have undergone drastic reduction, which had a severe impact on the wild elephant population. Habitat loss and fragmentation is attributed to the increasing human population and its need for fuel wood and timber. Illegal timber extraction plays a significant role in deforestation and habitat degradation. As a result of the shrinking habitat, elephants have become more and more prone to coming into direct conflict with humans.[15]
In Myanmar, demand for elephant ivory for making tourist items is higher than ever before. The military government shows little interest in reducing the ivory trade, while the elephants in the country have become the silent victims. After the world-wide ivory ban, prices of raw ivory in the country skyrocketed from $76 a kilo for large tusks in 1989/90 to over $200 a kilo by the mid-1990s. Foreign tourists are responsible for the massive rise in price of ivory tusks which fuels the illegal killing of elephants. There is also a sizeable trade in ivory chopsticks and carvings, smuggled by traders from Myanmar into China.[16]

Post your Comment

Complaint Details


Get new code


 

Recently Updated Reports

1
1278 days ago by thestoryofdianegerrish
goldendoodle world - goldendoodle world lake ridge kennels Vulgar,...
I just came across this page a few minutes ago. I am Sandra Johnson and although this page was...
2
1503 days ago by freeinfofraud
Bitky.io - Unable to withdraw funds
Bitky be Aware! Unable to withdraw money! Bitky idoes not allow you to withdraw your funds, do...
4
1507 days ago by ned l.
Bi Polar Bullies - Bi Polar Bullies Kennel Karen Wolfe BUYERS BEWERE OF THIS...
thank you for bringing this to my attention...my name is Karen Wolfe, i'm the owner of...
7
1508 days ago by ned l.
ServiceMagic ServiceMagic scams and cheats contractors...
Jason - I'm sorry to hear about your experiences with your leads recently. The leads that...
     

User Registration

Already a ScamExposure.com member? Log in now.
Username
E-mail address
Password
 
Get new code

User Registration

A confirmation email was sent to "".
To confirm your account, please click the link in the message.

If you don't see the email in your Inbox, please check your Spam box.

User Login

Not a member of ScamExposure.com? Register now.
E-mail address
Password
Forgot your password?
E-mail address
Back
Loading, please wait...
Your password has been sent to the specified email address. Log in