Elephants are probably the largest existing mammals. They are traced back to the family Elephantidae biologically. The only species of the elephants that are known include the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant and the Asian elephant.
Geographically, the elephants are found to have spread across the sub-Saharan part of Africa, South of Asia and the South East of Asia.
Elephants are the largest land animals on the Earth so far and have characteristic long trunks which serve as the nose. They also have large floppy ears and two sets of very wide and thick legs. The large floppy ears serve to blow away flies and most importantly, hot air.
When elephants were first domesticated?
Elephants have over the years had a very instrumental role in the lives of human beings which is why they got domesticated. Asians in particular have used them in war and for transportation purposes but the rest of the world things of them as a means of fun rides to provide entertainment. History records that the first elephants to be domesticated or tamed were in Asia, particularly India, around 2000 B.C. This was because they were to be used during war for advantage over the opponents. After capture, these elephants got trained to serve and take instructions during war. This worked because of the knowledge, understanding, learning and insight possessed by elephants.
Usefulness of elephants to humans
- Elephants are a tourist attraction in their home countries. Tourists travel from different parts of the world to come and see them for fun.
- For the home countries, revenue is earned in terms of foreign currency when the tourists come to see the elephants.
- Elephants give a strong cultural significance because they inspire respect in their conscious thoughtfulness which makes them able to show emotion. They share the landscape with some people.
- They are a keystone species that have been very instrumental in the maintenance of biodiversity in the ecosystem that homes them.
- Provide water for humans and animals sharing the harsh regions because they dig using their tusks during dry seasons.
- When they eat, they make way for passage of humans and animals in the forest as well as for younger plants to achieve growth.
- Their dung is used to enhance growth of plants and even seeds. This makes agriculture easier for communities around elephants.
- Elephants have historically been instrumental in wars between communities or countries.
- In game parks and reserves, elephants serve as entertainment when people ride on them over short distances with the help of a guide.
An elephant sanctuary is basically a place where retired elephants are taken to live in peacefully without the need to struggle to survive or work in efforts to get food. Some of the sanctuaries recorded include:
- Elephant jungle sanctuary found in Thailand.
- Elephant Nature Park also found in Thailand
- Mwaluganje Elephant sanctuary located in Kenya
- The Elephant Sanctuary found in Tennessee.
- The Elephant sanctuaries that are found in Plettenberg Bay, Hartbeespoort dam and Hazyview in South Africa.
- The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary located in Malaysia
- Riddle’s Elephant and wildlife Sanctuary that is found in Green-brier region in Arkansas.
The young one of an elephant is referred to as a calf. At birth, they weigh about 250 pounds and are 3 feet tall. At the calf stages of their lives, elephants are very clumsy with so much as little or no control over their trunks hence they trip over every once in a while.
Elephants are among the most conserved animals in the history of man. Their distribution makes it possible that they survive. Poachers however are a great threat to the survival of this species. Caring for these animals is of tremendous benefit to the life of human beings as well as to the survival of other animals that share the jungle with them. The overall benefit of elephants to human beings as a whole is by far greater than what any one person can get by killing an elephant for economical purposes and this is why the governments all over the world as well as wild life conservation organizations are very vigilant in efforts to protect these animals hoping that their species will not be wiped out by unscrupulous poachers and cartels.