African Bush Elephant: Loxodonta africana

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African Bush Elephant in the Mikumi National Park, Tanzania

An African Bush Elephant in the Mikumi National Park near Morogoro in Tanzania

The African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is larger than the African Forest Elephant, though both the species have generally been classified as a single species, which is known as the African Elephant. They are much larger than Asian Elephants.

The African Elephant is the largest living land animal, growing up to6 to 7 meters in length and 3.5 to 4 meters in height, and weighing 6,000 kg to 9,000 kg (13,000 to 20,000 lb).

The African Elephant is identified with its large head, very large ears, a large muscular trunk, and two prominent long tusks. The tusks are well-developed in both males and females, though males have longer and thicker tusks.

African Elephants are herbivorous, consuming about 250 kg of leaves, branches and other vegetable matter per day. The ingested food is defecated without being digested fully. African elephant experts claim that these large feces mounds contain seeds of plants and hence the elephants help in dispersal of seeds of plants. The elephants also drink about 200 liters of water per day.

The female elephant gives birth to a single calf which weighs more than 100 kg after 22 months of gestation, the longest pregnancy period among all mammals.

Human beings are the elephants’ principal predators. Humans poach them indiscriminately for their meat, skin, bones, teeth and tusks (ivory), though hunting has been prohibited by law in many countries.

Other than human beings, the adult African Bush Elephants have generally no predators because of their huge size. But the calves and newborn baby elephants are preyed upon by lions, crocodiles, and rarely by hyenas and leopards.

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