“Be humble as the blade of grass that is being trodden underneath the feet. The little ant tastes joyously the sweetness of honey and sugar. The mighty elephant trembles in pain under the agony of sharp goad.”
- John Ruskin
African elephants (Loxodonta africana), unlike their Asian relatives, are not easily domesticated. They range throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the rain forests of central and West Africa. The continent’s northern-most elephants are found in Mali’s Sahel desert. The small, nomadic herd of Mali elephants migrates in a circular route through the desert in search of water.
Having a baby elephant is a serious commitment. Elephants have a longer pregnancy than any other mammal—almost 22 months. Cows usually give birth to one calf every two to four years. At birth, elephants already weigh some 200 pounds (91 kilograms) and stand about 3 feet (1 meter) tall.
- Elephants typically reach puberty at thirteen or fourteen years of age
- They have offspring up until they are around fifty years old
- They may live seventy years or possibly more
- A cow produces a single calf and in very rare cases twins
- The interval between births is between two and a half to four years
- An elephant´s trunk, a union of the nose and upper lip, is a highly sensitive organ with over 100,000 muscle units.