Animal Studies: African Elephants

Topics: Elephant, Feather, Elephants Pages: 9 (2779 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Working with animals to meet their needs.

African Elephants:

Physical Characteristics -
African elephants are the largest of all land animals, adult males weighing between 1,800 and 6,300 kg (2 and 7 tons/ 4,000 and 14,000 lb.). Females are smaller, weighing between 2,700 and 3,600 kg (3 and 4 tons/ 6,000 and 8,000 lb.). Shoulder height ranges between three and four m (9.8 and 13.1 ft.). The African Elephant is Grey and their skin is deeply wrinkled with sparse hair over the body. Their head has one round dome.

The average Temperature for the African Elephant is around 96 – 98 degrees. African Elephants are societal creatures centred around the female and her offspring. Herds usually consist of about ten females and their young, with the "matriarch" of the herd being the oldest and also the leader of the herd. When the herd grows too large, it will split into two or more smaller herds. These smaller herds will occasionally combine to form larger, temporary herds in areas where there is plenty of food and water. Permanent methods of identification –

Permanent - Brownish grey skin has folds and may be one inch thick in places. The African Elephant has a marked dip between its fore and hindquarters giving a concave curvature to its back. Ears are large and fan-like. The trunk has two prehensile protrusions at the tip. Large tusks are present in both sexes. Elephants are digitigrade with pads of fibrous tissue to cushion toe bon. Transporting an Elephant –

Before transporting elephants, make the following preparations:

1. Plan the journey
2. Prepare the elephant
3. Prepare the vehicle and the necessary equipment
4. Prepare the required documents

1. Plan the journey

Before travelling, the mahout should know following the essential details: the route to be taken, the approximate time of travel, and the destination point. This information is essential so that the elephant is assured of having sufficient food and water while on the road. The easiest thing is to prepare banana tree stalks and other food with high moisture content, as this is more convenient to carry than ordinary food and water. Also the mahout or manager should ensure that there is a suitable and easy place for the elephant to board the truck and to disembark from the truck at the destination, especially if the elephant is hard to unload. If the elephant must travel far (more than one day), the mahout should know places to buy or find food and water.

Warning: It is essential to avoid travelling in strong sunlight because the elephant can suffer from such exposure even to the point of death. Travelling at night is best.

2. Prepare the elephant

Before transporting an elephant, the animal should be given time, at least two or three days, to rest and to eat and drink to its satisfaction. For cow elephants and calves, it is not good for them to travel alone; it is best if they have an elephant they are familiar with as a travel companion. (The mother will not be apprehensive and will be easier to control.) Most importantly, in moving elephants to a location with which they are unfamiliar, it is essential that the mahout should always stay very near the elephant and should never desert the elephant.

When transportation involves a vehicle, the mahout should know whether the elephant is familiar with climbing on and off a truck. If the elephant is difficult to load or the animal is fearful, other people must be called in to help in the loading. It is best if the elephant has been practiced and is comfortable getting on and off a vehicle, because if not the loading can be difficult: wasting a lot of time, putting the animal in great stress and possibly even wounding it with spears or elephant hooks.

3. Prepare the vehicle and equipment

If transportation is by motor vehicle, the mahout or manager must be satisfied as to the size and the condition of the vehicle, in order to assure a safe and punctual arrival. The mahout or manager...
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