Savanna elephant, African savanna elephant
The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) is one of two living African elephant species. It is the largest living terrestrial animal and is distributed across 37 African countries. Since 2021, it has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. It is threatened foremost by habitat destruction, and in parts of its range also by poaching for meat and ivory.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits or succulent fruit-like produce of plants such as roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds. Approx...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growi...
Grazing is a method of feeding in which a herbivore feeds on plants such as grasses, or other multicellular organisms such as algae. In agriculture...
Nomadic animals regularly move to and from the same areas within a well-defined range. Most animals travel in groups in search of better territorie...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
A herd is a social grouping of certain animals of the same species, either wild or domestic. The form of collective animal behavior associated with...
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The African bush elephant has grey skin with scanty hairs. Its large ears cover the whole shoulder and can grow as large as 2 m × 1.5 m (6 ft 7 in × 4 ft 11 in). Its large ears help to reduce body heat; flapping them creates air currents and exposes large blood vessels on the inner sides to increase heat loss during hot weather. The African bush elephant's ears are pointed and triangular-shaped. Its occipital plane slopes forward. Its back is shaped markedly concave. Its sturdy tusks are curved out and point forward. The trunk is a prehensile extension of the upper lip and nose. Short tactile hair grows on the trunk, which has two finger-like processes on the tip. This highly sensitive organ is innervated primarily by the trigeminal nerve and is thought to be manipulated by about 40,000-60,000 muscles. Because of this muscular structure, the trunk is so strong that elephants can use it for lifting about 3% of their own body weight. They use it for smelling, touching, feeding, drinking, dusting, sound production, loading, defending, and attacking. Both sexes have tusks, which erupt when they are 1-3 years old and grow throughout life. Tusks grow from deciduous teeth known as tushes that develop in the upper jaw and consist of a crown, root, and pulpal cavity, which are completely formed soon after birth. Tushes reach a length of 5 cm (2.0 in). The tusks of males grow faster than the tusks of females.
African bush elephants occur in Sub-Saharan Africa including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, and Angola. They move between a variety of habitats, including forests, dry and seasonally flooded grasslands, woodlands, shrubland, and wetlands to mountain slopes. In Mali and Namibia, they also inhabit desert and semi-desert areas.
Savanna elephants live in a rather complex social hierarchy. These animals gather into family units, consisting of about 10 females and their offspring. Reaching maturity, male calves usually leave the family unit, forming bachelor herds or living solitarily. As a general rule, males socialize with these family groups only when mating. Meanwhile, several family herds may gather together, making up a 'clan'. Each clan is dominated by a female matriarch and can consist of as many as several hundred elephants. African bush elephants are very careful and protective animals. Allomothering is a common practice in this species: females can raise calves of other females of their herd. They protect and care for the calves of the herd, while all adults are sleeping. If a calf strays too far, these allomothers are responsible for retrieving the baby. These active animals are constantly on the move. These elephants forage during the daytime hours, wandering the home range of their herd. Savanna elephants freely communicate with conspecifics both verbally and non-verbally.
Savanna elephants have a polygynous mating system, where males are constantly in search of breeding females. They breed throughout the year with peak periods, occurring during the rainy seasons. When mating, males usually stay less than a few weeks with each female and her herd. The gestation period lasts as long as 2 years, yielding a single baby (rarely - twins), which is nursed for about 2 years. The calf then continues to live under the protection of the entire herd until 6 years old, when the young elephant is able to live independently. Males of this species are reproductively mature after 20 years old, whereas females are mature after 10-11 years, being most reproductive at 25-45 years old.
This elephant is currently threatened by poaching for its ivory fetches, which are highly valued in black markets in Asian countries as well as the United States. In addition, war and over-exploitation of natural resources usually cause increased poaching for their meat. African bush elephants frequently come into conflict with people as a result of the growing human population: thus, about 70% of their range lies outside the protected areas, due to which they often damage agriculture and water supplies, leading to injuries and even mortality in both people and elephants. On the other hand, the growing human population combined with land conversion is one of the biggest threats to the population of this species, causing fragmentation of their natural habitat.
According to the Wikipedia resource, the total number of African bush elephants today is more than 15,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers are increasing.
African bush elephants play a significant role in the local ecosystem. Due to reducing tree density within their range, these animals maintain the ecosystem of savanna and open woodland, helping many plants and animals survive. Due to digging, they make holes in dry riverbeds; they usually dig or enlarge caves when looking for salt, thus creating shelter for various animals.