The Life Of The Elephant

The life of the elephant.

The Life Of The Elephant

The elephant is the largest land animal, weighing up to eight tons. Lives in Asia and Africa. The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is an "endangered" animal. Isolated populations continue to live in tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia from Nepal to Singapore as well as in southern India and Sri Lanka. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is larger and typically has very large ears. It is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but mainly in forests and savannas in the Congo Basin and coastal East Africa. It is considered a "vulnerable" species.

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Elephants are distinguished by their large ears and long proboscis, which has many uses: as a hand that grabs objects or greets its companions, as a trumpet for warning, or as a hose for drinking water or taking a bath. It is an extremely sensitive organ that contains much more muscle than the whole human body! They are also distinguished by the characteristic tusks, their cutters that grow throughout the life of the elephant and are used as a tool and weapon. Ivory is, unfortunately, a target for poachers who kill tens of thousands of elephants every year, especially in Africa.

The imposing presence of the elephant determines the morphology of the whole place where it lives and moves. Every day it eats hundreds of kilos of plants, mainly grasses, leaves, and branches of shrubs and trees. It can uproot entire trees. He works as a gardener, thinning out the shrubs in the savannah and making room in the dense rainforest for light to pass through. Thus, it creates the right conditions for hundreds of other species of animals. It also gives life to African forests, as one-third of the tree's seeds germinate only after passing through its digestive system.

Elephant society is matriarchal. Males live solitary lives, while herds are made up of females raising their young under their protection. The pregnancy lasts 22 months, the longest of any mammal, while newborns weigh 50-150 kg!

The Life that is threatened.

The Life Of The Elephant

It is estimated that between 1930 and 1940 there were about 3-5 million elephants in Africa, but today their numbers have dropped to 470,000–690,000. Respectively, the Asian elephants do not exceed 32,900 people.

In both Africa and densely populated Southeast Asia, elephant habitats are occupied by crops and settlements, resulting in elephants being "squeezed" into smaller and smaller areas while losing access to their traditional migratory routes. Competition for available space is fierce for both elephants and humans as 20% of the total human population lives in or near traditional elephant habitats. The neighborhood is not harmonious. The villagers' crops are a tempting meal for the elephants, but they can destroy the entire crop in one go as they consume up to 450 kilograms of food a day, creating new conflicts and problems for both sides.

The second major threat, however, is the illegal wildlife trade. Elephants are hunted mercilessly: up to 30,000 elephants are slaughtered each year in Africa for their tusks. In the 1980s, about 100,000 elephants per year were lost, resulting in the ivory trade being outlawed in 1989. The problem had eased, but recently increased demand from Asia, and especially China, has led to a new huge smuggling ring. Many people believe that tusks "grow back" but in reality, ivory comes from dead elephants. Based in Thailand, where the domestic ivory trade was until recently legal, Africa's illegal ivory was "laundered" and channeled to Asian countries.

The Life we protect.

The Life Of The Elephant

To support the balanced coexistence of man and elephant, we help local people protect their plantations from wild elephants in search of food. One way is to use fences. Another is the protection of the fields with "bombs" of manure and hot pepper, which the elephants hate! The general goal is to ensure that the expansion of human settlements is done with respect to the ancient migratory routes of elephants.

For the great threat of the illegal wildlife trade, we are training and equipping ranchers to protect areas where elephants move. At the same time, we are working to weaken organized smuggling circuits and their ability to easily access markets. A big success in 2013 was the delivery of 500 thousand signatures from around the world to the Prime Minister of Thailand, asking her to ban the domestic ivory trade. The Prime Minister has pledged to end this trade in her country, as she offers an alibi for the smuggling of victorious ivory in Asia. The illicit trade in wild animals, with an annual turnover of $7.8-10 billion, is a well-organized crime, directly linked to money laundering, arms trafficking, corruption, and terrorism.

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