The African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta Africana), also known as the Africana Savanna Elephant, is one of two extent African Elephant species and one of three extant Elephant species. It is the largest living terrestrial animal, with bulls reaching a shoulder height of up to 3.96 m and a body mass of up to 10.4t.
1. Scientific classification: Elephas Africus was the scientific name proposed by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. It belongs to the family Elephantidae.
2. Description: The African Bush Elephant has grey skin with scanty hairs. Its large ears cover the whole shoulder and it can grow as large as 6 ft 7 inches.
3. Size: The African Bush Elephant is the largest and heaviest land animal, with a maximum recorded shoulder height of an adult bull of 3.96 m.
4. Distribution: The African Bush Elephant occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Angola.
5. Habitat: It moves between a variety of habitats, including subtropical and temperate forests, dry and seasonally flooded grasslands, woodlands, wetlands and agricultural land from sea level to mountain slopes.
6. Social Behaviour: The core of Elephant society is the family unit, which mostly comprises several adult cows, their daughters, and their prepubertal sons. Young Elephants gradually separate from the family unit when they are between 10 to 19 years old.
7. Temperate Regulation: African Bush Elephants have curved skin that generates bending cracks, which support thermoregulation by water retention. These bending cracks also contribute to an evaporative cooling process which causes elephants to maintain their body temperature regardless of air temperature via homeothermy.
8. Deit: The African Bush Elephant is herbivorous. Its diet consists mainly of grasses, creepers and herbs. Adults can consume up to 150 kg per day. During the dry season, the diet also includes leaves and bark.
9. Communication: African Bush Elephants use their trunk for tactile communication. When greeting, a lower-ranking individual will insert the tip of its trunk into its superior mouth. Elephants will also stretch out their trunk towards an approaching individual they intend to greet.
10. Threats: The African Bush Elephant is threatened primarily by habitat loss and fragmentation following conversion of natural habitat for livestock farming, plantations of non-timber crops, and building of urban and industrial areas.
11. Poaching: Poachers target elephant bulls for their task, which leads to a skewed sex ratio and affects the survival chances of the population.
12. Habitat changes: Vast areas in Sub-Saharan Africa were transformed for agricultural use and the building of infrastructure. This disturbance leaves the Elephants without a stable habitat and limits their ability to roam freely.
13. Pathogens: Observations at Etosha National Park indicate that African Bush Elephants die due to Anthrax, foremost in November at the end of the dry season.
14. Conservation: Both African Elephant species have been listed in the Appendix of the ‘Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora since 1989.
15. The African Bush Elephant is the largest land mammal in the world and the largest of the three Elephant species.
16. The females run and manage the herd at all times. Adult male Elephants, called Bulls, spend their life apart from the herd and only return when it is time to mate.
17. Offspring of African Bush Elephant, regardless of gender, for an average of eight years. During this time, males are socially active within the herd but less emotionally connected than their female counterparts.
18. African Elephants can live up to 70 years. It is the second largest living land mammal behind humans. For context, some African Elephants born in 1949 are still alive today.
19. The trunk of this animal has 40,000+ Muscles and tendons. It would take the muscles of 58 human beings just to power one trunk of the Elephant.
20. African Bush Elephants use their trunks for more than drinking and lifting. When Elephants walk across rivers, their entire bodies go underwater. However, they can lift their trunks into the air and breathe perfectly fine.
21. Unlike Asian Elephants, male and female African Bush Elephants have tusks. Tusk function like insiders. They are similar to any other type of animal teeth. However, these “teeth” are used for more than just food.
22. African Bush Elephants have the unique ability to smell water from miles away.
23. The African Bush Elephant can run surprisingly fast for its weight and size. At top speed, they can run at 25 miles per hour. That is faster than the average human.
24. The ears of these African Bush Elephants are designed to keep them cool in the heat, as Africa can reach temperatures up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. That is one of the hottest temperatures on the planet.