Kental Travel – August 12 is celebrated worldwide as International Elephant Day, aimed at raising awareness about the endangered status of these lovable creatures. Elephants are some of the most beloved giants on Earth, intelligent, beautiful, and incredibly emotional beings that have gained fame as the largest land animals. Let’s dive into some fascinating facts and tidbits about elephants.
Amazing Facts About Elephants:
- Elephants have the longest pregnancy period among animals, lasting 22 months from conception to birth.
- Typically, elephants live between 60 to 70 years.
- Elephants are the heaviest animals on Earth. African elephants weigh between 4 to 7 tons, while Asian elephants weigh between 3 to 5 tons.
- Despite the ivory trade ban in 1989, approximately 800,000 African elephants have been killed over the past three decades.
- Elephant tusks continue to grow throughout their lives. An adult male elephant’s tusk grows an average of about 17.8 centimeters yearly.
- Elephant skin is about 2.5 centimeters thick, but it’s highly sensitive due to its abundance of nerve endings.
- An elephant’s brain is large, about 3 to 4 times the size of a human brain. However, the brain-to-body weight ratio in elephants is lower compared to humans.
Threats to Elephant Extinction:
The elephant population has declined by over 60% in recent decades. Threats to their existence include:
- Poaching for Ivory: Each year, about 27,000 elephants are brutally hunted in Africa to obtain their ivory, mainly demanded by buyers in China. In this illicit market, ivory is sometimes traded at the price of gold.
- Habitat Loss: Shrinking habitats due to increased agricultural activities and deforestation pose a major threat to elephants.
- Captivity: Keeping elephants in zoos and circuses poses another significant threat to their survival.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared African elephants as vulnerable and Asian elephants as endangered. The African elephant population is estimated to be around 300,000, while the Asian elephant population is around 40,000. Biologists attribute the decline of Asian elephants to population growth and limited space.
Despite the endangerment of Asian elephants, the first elephant was born in Iran in 2021. In 2013, the President of Sri Lanka gifted two elephant calves to the then-President of Iran. These elephants were transferred from an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka to Iran. Maysa, the first Asian elephant calf, was born in 2021 at Eram Green Zoo in Tehran. This historic birth, the first in Iran in 500 years, signifies significant progress and expertise in the country’s wildlife conservation field.