Happy World Elephant Day 2022! These animals play a vital role in their ecosystems and contribute to tourism and community incomes in many areas. Unfortunately, with only 40,000-50,000 left in the wild, this species is classified as endangered. To celebrate this wonderful animal, here are 6 interesting elephant facts for kids.
As the largest land mammal on the planet, an average male elephant can be measured up to three meters high (or 13 feet) and weigh up to 6,000 kilograms. Elephants also have large brains that weigh between 4-6kg. Moreover, those that live in the wild can live up to 70 years.
The Asian elephant is currently listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, with its population dropping day by day. It is estimated that within the last 75 years, the world has lost about 50% of all Asian elephants.
You might not know that elephants can communicate with their feet. With their vocal cords, elephants emit low-frequency sounds that travel dozens of miles under the ground on the savannah. Other individuals can “hear” and absorb these sounds through their highly sensitive feet and bones.
Trunks contain nearly 40,000 different muscles and it is thus not surprising that they can be used to do several different things. While elephants use their long trunks to smell and breath, this can also function like a long arm to grab food, dig through soil and tree trunks, and even play. Elephants also use it to drink and because of its very large size, they are able to pour up to 12 litres of water into their mouth at once.
An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of food in a single day! Yet, contrarily to most mammals, elephants are vegetarian and their diet consists mainly of roots, grasses, fruits, and bark.
The global wildlife trade is an industry that is fuelling poaching practises. Many animals are captured and killed to be sold locally or into the growing wildlife trade. African elephants are particularly attractive for their ivory tusks of African elephants, which are carved for decorations. Every year, poaching is responsible for the death of more than 20,000 elephants to satisfy demand for ivory in Asia, particularly in China and Japan.
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