Monday, 12 October 2020

The African elephant

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 The African elephant (Loxodonta) is a species of two living elephant, the African bush elephant (L. africa) and the small African wild elephant (L. cyclotis). Both are herbivores and live in groups. It has gray skin and varies in the size of the ears and ivory and the shape and size of the skull.

The African elephant


Both species have been listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List since 2004 and are threatened with habitat loss and extinction. Hunting for the illegal ivory trade is a threat in several countries.

Loxodonta is one of two surviving generations of the Elephantidae family. The name means the loosely shaped enamel on their molar teeth. Fossil remains of the genus Loxodonta have been excavated in Africa and date to the Middle Pliocene.

classification

Comparison of the bush (left) and forest (right) elephant skulls in front view. Note the short and broad head of the concave L. cyclotis instead of the convex forehead.

The first scientific description of the African elephant was written in 1797 by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who suggested a scientific name, Eliphaz Africanus. In 1824, Loxodonte was suggested by Georges Cuvier as the common name for the African elephant. This name refers to the loosely shaped enamel of molar teeth that differs significantly from the shape of Asian elephant molar enamel. In 1827 an anonymous author used the Latin spelling Loxodonta. Recognized anonymously by the International Zoological Nomenclature in 1999.

The African elephant


In 1900, Paul Matsy proposed the eclipse of Eliphaz (Loxodonta) and he described three specimens of African elephant zoology in Cameroon. In 1936, Glover Morrill Allen considered this elephant a unique species and called it the 'wild elephant'. Later authors considered it a subspecies. Morphological and genetic analysis provide evidence for specific levels of difference between the African bush elephant and the African. Wild elephants.

In 1907, Richard Lideker proposed six subspecies of African elephants based on the different sizes and shapes of their ears. They are all considered to have the same meaning as the African bush elephant.

Phylogeny

Analysis of nuclear DNA sequences shows that the genetic variation between African bush and wild elephants began 2.6 - 5.6 million years ago. The divergence between Asian elephants and fur giants was estimated at 2.5 - 5.4 million years ago, which strongly supports their status as a species. The African wild elephant was found to have a high genetic diversity. Perhaps the Pleistocene reflects the occasional disintegration of their habitats during climate change.

The African elephant evening


The gene flow between the two African elephant species was tested at 21 sites. The analysis revealed that several African bush elephants carried the mitochondrial DNA of African wild elephants, suggesting that they hybridized in the savanna-forest transition zone in ancient times.

Sequential analysis of DNA from extinct Eurasian Paleoloxodon fossils suggests that it is more closely related to the African bush elephant than to the African bush elephant. The validity of Loxodonta is therefore called into question

details

Skin, ears, and trunk

Male African bush elephant skull on display at Museum of Osteology

African elephants are gray, up to 30 millimeters (1.2 inches) in size, with sparse bristle dark brown to black hairs. The short tousled hair grows on the trunk and has two finger-like processes. Their large ears help reduce body heat; In hot weather, the inner sides of the ears are exposed, which increases the heat loss of the large blood vessels. The trunk is an anterior extension of its upper lip and nose. This highly sensitive organ is found primarily by the trigeminal nerve and can handle about 40-60,000 muscles. Because of this muscular structure, the trunk is so strong that elephants can use it to lift about 3% of their body weight. They use it to smell, touch, feed, drink, dust, make noise, load, protect, and strike. Elephants sometimes swim underwater and use their trunks as snooker.


Ivory and molars

Male and female African elephants have ivory growing from deciduous teeth called ivory, which is replaced by ivory when the calves are about one year old. The ivory is made of teeth and forms small diamond-shaped structures at the center of the ivory. Ivory is used for digging for roots and removing bark from trees for food, fighting with each other during mating and protecting against predators. The ivory weighs 23 to 45 kilograms (51-99 pounds) and can be 1.5 to 2.4 meters (5-8 feet) long. They are curved forward and continue to grow throughout the life of the elephant.

The African elephant pool


Elephant dental formula

Elephants have four molars; Each weighs about 5 kilograms (11 pounds) and is about 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. As the front pair pulls down and falls to pieces, the rear pair moves forward and two new molars emerge behind the mouth. Elephants replace four to six times in their lifetime. Between the ages of 40 and 60, the elephant loses its last molar and dies of starvation, a common cause of death. African elephants have a total of 24 tusks, each with four jaws. The enamel plates of molars are smaller than those of Asian elephants.

Size

The African bush elephant is the largest terrestrial animal. The cow has a shoulder height of 2.2–2.6 m (7.2–8.5 ft) and weighs 2,160–3,232 kg (4,762–7,125 lb) and the bulls are 3.2–4 m (10–13 ft) tall and weigh 4,700–6,048 kg. . 10,362–13,334 lb). Its back is shaped like a concrete and the African jungle is located directly behind the elephant. The largest man on record was 3.96 meters (13.0 feet) at the shoulder and weighed 10,400 kilograms (22,900 pounds). The tallest recorded person was 4.21 meters (13.8 feet) at the shoulder and weighed 8,000 kilograms (18,000 pounds).

The African Wild Elephant Male is up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) tall. It is the third largest terrestrial animal. Their thick bodies rest on vertical legs.

African elephant


Threats

Based on the flora that provides suitable habitat for African elephants, an estimated 26,913,000 African elephants arrived in the early 19th century from Sahel in the north to the Highveld in the south. The decline in suitable habitat was the main reason for the decline in the elephant population until the 1950s. The hunting of African elephants for ivory has accelerated the decline since the 1970s. By 1987, the remaining suitable habitat capacity was estimated at 8,985,000 elephants. Prices for ivory have risen in the 1970s and 1980s, and hunting for ivory has given access to elephant habitats, especially in Central African countries. And the petroleum industry. Between 1976 and 1980, raw ivory was exported from Africa to Hong Kong and Japan, with about 222,000 African elephants.


The first continental elephant census was conducted in 1976. By then, it is estimated that 1.34 million elephants will cover 7,300,000 square kilometers (2,800,000 square miles). The civil war of the 1980s made it difficult to conduct systematic surveys of several countries in the East African range. In 1987, the African elephant population was estimated to have dropped to 760,000 people. In 1989, it was estimated that only 608,000 African elephants survived. In 1989, the Kenyan Wildlife Service burned a stock of ivory in protest of the ivory trade. The population of the Tanzanian Seles Sports Reserve, once the world's largest reserve, dropped from 109,000 in 1976 to 13,000 in 2013.


When the international ivory trade reopened in 2006, the demand and price for ivory in Asia increased. More than 3,200 elephants were killed in Chad's Sakuma National Park between 2005 and 2010. Well-organized networks facilitate ivory smuggling across Sudan. The Tanzanian government lost more than 85,000 elephants to poaching between 2009 and 2014, representing a 60% loss. By 2014, it is estimated that there are only 50,000 elephants left in Central Africa. The last major populations are in Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. In 2012, the New York Times reported a huge increase in ivory hunting, with about 70% of production flowing to China.

The African elephant


Conflicts between elephants and the growing human population are a major issue in elephant conservation. Research has been done on ways to keep elephants away from humans due to human encroachment on their natural habitats or their increase in adjacent areas. Playing the recorded sound of angry bees has been found to be very effective when motivating elephants to flee to an area.


According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the total population of African elephants in 2014 is estimated at 700,000 and Asian elephants at 32,000. The population of African elephants in South Africa is large and extensive, with over 300,000 in the region; There are 200,000 in Botswana and 80,000 in Zimbabwe. Large populations of elephants are confined to well-protected areas. However, traditional estimates estimate that 23,000 African elephants were killed by poachers in 2013, [60] and less than 20% of the African elephant population is under formal care. The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimated the elephant population in Africa in September 2016 at 415,000. They report a decrease of 111,000 elephants over the past decade. This is the worst decline in 25 years.

The African elephant


China is the largest market for hunted ivory, but in May 2015 it announced that it would cease to legally manufacture and sell ivory products, and in September of that year China and the United States announced a complete ban. Import and export of ivory. In response, Chinese consumers went through markets in Laos to buy their ivory, and leading conservation groups called for pressure on Laos to end the trade.

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