The African bush elephant, also known as the African savanna elephant, is the largest living terrestrial animal threatened by habitat destruction and poaching for meat and ivory. It is a herbivore and lives in herds composed of cows and their offspring.
They are the biggest living creatures on land at this time and can grow to weigh more than 6 tons at their heaviest. It is possible that its unusually large tusks inspired the naming of the animal.
African Bush Elephant Facts for Kids
- They are the largest land mammal in the world
- African bush elephants can live 60 – 70 years
- They eat grasses, bushes, tree bark, and roots
- Male African bush elephants can weigh 6,000 kg
- They have long curved tusks and massive ears
- They are larger than the African forest elephant
The African Bush Elephant is the largest known land mammal on Earth, reaching up to 3.5 meters in height and 6 to 7 meters in length. It has four molar teeth that are replaced six times during its life, but at 40 to 60 years old, it will likely die of starvation.
The trunk is a prehensile elongation of the upper lip and nose innervated primarily by the trigeminal nerve. Elephants use their trunks for lifting about 3% of their body weight, smelling, touching, feeding, drinking, dusting, sound production, loading, defending, and attacking.
The tusks of African bush elephants are composed of dentin and coated with a thin layer of cementum. They grow throughout life, reach a maximum length of 3.51 m (11.5 ft), and weigh 117 kg (258 lb).
They are distinguished from Asian elephants by the presence of tusks on both males and females.
The African bush elephant has 26 molars, which erupt at different ages and differ in size. The last molars are visible at age 65 and grow to a size of 9.4 cm (3.7 in) wide by 31 cm (12 in).
Distribution and Habitat
They live in nomadic herds on Africa’s grassy savanna plains and shrubland. They are less vulnerable on the open African plains because of their social lifestyle.
They live in Sub-Saharan Africa and inhabit various habitats, including forests, grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, and agricultural land.
Behavior and Lifestyle
African Bush Elephants are nomadic animals that move in family herds in search of food. They are also highly intelligent and emotional animals that display behaviors such as giving and receiving love, caring deeply for the young, and grieving for dead relatives.
Elephants live in family units, which are led by a matriarch. The family unit size varies seasonally and between locations, but on average, there are 6.3 family units in Rwenzori National Park and 28.8 in Chambura Game Reserve.
Young bulls gradually distance themselves from their families between 10 and 19.
Reproduction and Life Cycles
African Elephants tend to live relatively long lives, reaching sexual maturity after 10 or 11 years. They give birth to a single calf, which remains under the guidance and protection of the herd until it is old enough to support itself.
Diet and Prey
It grazes on fruits and grasses and strips leaves and branches from trees and bushes with its trunk.
They can consume up to 150 kg (330 lb) per day. They also drink 180 – 230 liters (50 – 60 US gal) of water daily and visit mineral-rich water holes, termite mounds, and mineral licks.
Predators and Threats
The African Bush Elephant has no real natural predators to threaten its survival and can be seen co-inhabiting the African wilderness with other large mammals and birds without a problem. Humans are the biggest threat to their survival.
Lions and spotted hyenas are two of the animals that are known to feed on young calves. Adult elephants frequently use mobbing activity to frighten away predators, particularly lions.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been transformed for agricultural use and the building of infrastructure, leaving the African bush elephants without a stable habitat and limiting their ability to roam freely. Poachers have easy access to the African bush elephant.
Their population was decimated during the 20th century. Poachers target the biggest elephant bulls for their tusks.
In certain countries where elephants are found, years of civil strife and widespread corruption make it easier for poachers to get access to uncontrolled black markets.
The ivory tusks that are utilized for hunting for food and water have been wanted by humanity for a very long time. The ivory trade has existed since ancient times when people used ivory to create tools and weapons.
It’s believed that the number of African Bush Elephants has dropped by as much as 85 percent in some regions due to the rising demand for ivory.
Relationship with Humans
Due to increased interest in Africa, the African Bush Elephant population declined towards extinction. In 1989 African countries and countries around the world introduced a hunting ban and a ban on ivory sales.
Conservation Status and Life Today
African Bush Elephants are still threatened by poaching and habitat destruction.