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Monthly Archives: June 2017

The illegal Ivory trade and subsequent poaching of elephants continues to flourish despite several efforts to curb it.

Asian Ivory Carving: Products of the Ivory trade

Asian Ivory Carving. One Of The Many Products Of The Ivory Trade.

Did you know that on the average poachers kill one African elephant every 25 minutes just to harvest its ivory?

Despite several bans and resolutions locally and internationally, elephants are still slaughter brutally in their tens of thousands annually to feed the desire to possess ivory. Though poaching has reduced slightly since the infamous 2011 peak, it’s still going on at a rate that could wipe out elephants as a whole. Especially on the African continent where the elephants have larger tusks than their counterparts: the Asian elephants.

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Though the African Elephant continues to exist across much of Africa, they are under serious threat.

African elephant herd

Elephant Herd Led By A Bull At Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

The African elephant holds the title of the largest land animal on Earth today. There are actually two distinct species of this elephant under the genus Loxodonta: the African bush elephant (Loxodonta Africana), and the smaller African forest elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis).

Though they look similar to the Asian elephant from afar, closer examination shows some remarkable differences.

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Elephants have been exploited to the point of extinction by people for centuries now. Just how many elephant species actually exist today?

Sri Lankan Elephant Herd

Sri Lankan Elephant Herd (Author: Adbar cc 3.0)

Though there used to be hundreds of different species of elephants that walked on the surface of the earth at some point, we have just two distinct but very broad species alive today. They are classified under two genera: Loxodonta and Elephants.

Loxodonta are the African elephants while Elephas are the Asian Elephants. However, there are other subdivisions under each of these genera. Let’s have a closer look at each one below.

A. African Elephant Species

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We can all relate with some of the weird myths that exist about elephants. Here are a few of the facts.

An Elephant Coating Itself with sand

An Elephant Coating Itself With Sand

If there’s one majestic land animal you can’t afford to ignore, it’s got to be the elephant. While it’s admired and loved by some, others hunt it for its tusks or work with it peacefully as an indispensable part of their daily lives.

Elephants are also an important figure in religion, literature, the media, entertainment, and so on.

The Asian Elephant, for instance, is a vital part of Asian history and it’s still revered to date.

But, did you know that we probably still don’t know everything about these animals yet? Or that many things elephants do aren’t just for fun but that they have a purpose for those actions?

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The Asian elephant is the largest living land animal in Asia.

Male Asian Elephant

A Male (Bull) Asian Elephant In Bandipur National Park (Author: Yathin S Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons cc 3.0)

The Asian elephant, or Asiatic elephant, is the largest living land animal in Asia. There are three recognized subspecies of this elephant: Elephas maximus maximus (Sri Lanka), Elephas maximus indicus (Mainland Asia), and Elephas maximus sumatranus (Sumatra).

The Asian Elephant is generally smaller than the African elephant. Its body is gray and it has small ears. Elephants of this species also have very thick skin: over 1 inch thick on some parts of their body.  The males of the species have large tusks sometimes measuring up to 5 or 6 feet long. Though, some males do not have tusks at all.

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