Everything you need to know about elephants - and the best places to see them
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Saturday 12th August was World Elephant Day, an internationally recognised annual event dedicated to the preservation, protection and appreciation of some of the most beautiful mammals we have. Although the largest land mammal are some of the most popular amongst wildlife enthusiasts, travellers and interior decorators, here are some top fun facts that you might not know about these majestic creatures.
Male elephants leave the herd between the ages of 12 and 15These teenage lads prefer to lead a bachelor lifestyle and part ways from their families very early in life, whereas the females remain loyal to their herd in tight family groups of female relations. The eldest female leads the group, despite what The Jungle Book has lead us to believe.
The elephant is one of only a few mammals that can't jumpSomething else that we were deceived by the likes of Dumbo and company - elephant's cannot jump, and this is simply because they have no need to. Elephants keep safe in the presence of predators by remaining close to the protective herd and relying on their sheer size, rather than jumping like other animals would to avoid a predator.
Elephants purr like cats as a means of communicationThe elephant has quite the vocal range. As well as the iconic elephant trumpet that we all know and love, they can also produce a low rumbling that is so low that it is undetectable to the human ear. We can tell from a physical buzzing, and this is how the elephants have a chat.
Elephants' eyes are small and their eyesight is poorThis might be the only thing small about them, but elephants tend to navigate with their trunks as they walk through forests as their eyesight is poor.
The elephant's trunk has 150,000 muscle units and can hold over two gallons of water at a timeDespite popular misconception, elephants do not drink through their trunks, but use them as tools to drink with, by filling it with water and propelling it into their mouths like a hose.
They consume as much as 300-495 pounds of food per dayNo matter how much you can chow down during a Netflix binge, elephants can top that as the largest terrestrial animal. They can weigh up to 16,500 pounds as they have to consume a lot of fuel to power a body of that size. Wild elephants can eat plants of all sizes as well as fruit, grass and bamboo, and spend much of their time searching for their next meal.
The oldest known elephant in the world lived for 86 years. The average lifespan of an elephant is from 50 to 70 years.Living almost all long as humans, elephants are truly fascinating creatures that we must work hard to protect from extinction. An Asian elephant name Lin Wang was the world's oldest elephant on record, who died in 2003 at Taipei Zoo in Taiwan.
There are an estimated 15-20,000 captive elephants around the world, most of which live in harsh conditions.We must be aware and vigilant towards tourist attractions that subject elephants to cruel methods within taming rituals. These could include elements of torture, with the creatures being subjected to confinement, chaining, forced starvation and beatings from a bullhook, as young as within infancy. Many encourage tourists to opt for a more distant and relaxed approach to elephant experiences, and less intrusive alternatives to riding elephants.
There are only two distinct species of elephant left in the world: the African elephant and the Asian elephantThere are so many ways that you can get up close and personal with these fascinating mammals, and there are still many destinations around the world in which you can find them, despite their endangered status. Here are some of the best places to see the beautiful creatures in the wild, just as they should be. Borneo Borneo is home to pygmy elephants, and it is debated as to whether these creatures are native to Borneo or descendents of those given to the Sultan of Sulu in the 18th century. They travel in herds of up to 70, so they shouldn't be too hard to spot along Sabah's longest river, the Kinabatangan, which you can access by foot or on a river cruise. Deforestation has taken its toll on this area, so you can even spot other wildlife such as orang-utans, proboscis monkeys and monitor lizards amongst the foliage. You can also find elephants within the Danum Valley or the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Borneo. Botswana
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