The elephant is the largest of all land mammals. There are two main species - the African Elephant and the Asian Elephant (also known as the Indian Elephant). The African Elephant can be further divided into two subspecies - the African Bush Elephant (also known as the African Savanna Elephant) and the African Forest Elephant.
The most obvious way to identify elephants is by looking at the ears; the African Elephant has much larger ears than the Asian Elephant. The African Elephant is also much bigger than its Asian counterpart. African males can grow as tall as 3.64 meters (12ft) at the shoulder and weigh 5,455 kg (12,000 lbs). Females stand 3 meters high (10ft) and weigh around 4,000 kg (10,000 lbs).
Female elephants live most of their lives in tight family groups consisting only of females - mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts - and are led by the eldest female, the matriarch. Once a male elephant has left his natal group for good (usually around the age of fourteen), he will spend most of his time alone, only occasionnaly forming loose associations with other males in groups called bachelor herds.
Demand for ivory (which was at its height between 1970 and 1985) and the encroachment of human habitation has led to a sharp decline in elephant numbers across Africa and Asia. This has been particularly noticeable in the eastern region of Chad. As recently as 1970 the estimated elephant population in Chad was 400,000. By 2006 the number of elephants had dropped to about 10,000.
On a global scale the reduction in numbers has been just as dramatic. In 1930 there were between 5 and 10 million African elephants, by 1979 their were 1.3 million and in 2008 the figure was more like 500,000. The number of Asian elephants currently living in the wild is estimated to be 40,000 to 50,000.
On a more psotivie note, in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, the elephant population has been on the increase and this is causing problems for scientists hoping to find an alternative to culling in order to better manage the elephant population. By 2020 the numbers are expected to have risen from 14,000 to 28,000.
Elephant Desktop Wallpapers
The elephant wallpapers we have here feature African Bush Elephants (also known as African Savanna Elephants) photographed at Knowlsey Safari Park, near Liverpool.
At Knowsley Safari Park the herd consists of seven elephants; four females, one bull and two calves. The females were born in 1983, 1984 and 1987 (2) and arrived from Windsor Safari Park in 1993 (they were born in the wild in Zimbabwe). The names of the females are Buta, Shaba, Tana (Tots) and Juba (Jaba).
The bull (Nissim) was born in captivity in 1994 and is yet to father any calves. The two current calves were fathered by a bull named Kruger, who was later moved to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent (UK) to allow Nissim to mature. The calves were born in 2003 and are named Nala and Ashanti.
The herd lives in a 12 acre paddock which includes natural mud wallows, grazing areas and an elephant house. Members of the public can get close to the paddock or view the elephants from a purpose built platform (located behind the giraffe house).
Knowsley Safari Park
Knowsley Safari Park