One of the most distinguishable creatures on the planet, with huge floppy ears and long trunks, elephants are a favourite at Tucan Travel. The largest land mammal in the world, elephants are found across Asia and Africa usually in family herds.
Both African and Asian elephants are unfortunately extremely endangered, with poachers hunting them primarily for their ivory tusks. They’re losing their habitats as human populations grow and are also at risk of being captured for circuses or other animal attractions for human entertainment. Captive elephants are forced to carry tourists on their backs or perform tricks all day long, as highly intelligent creatures, elephants demonstrate signs of psychological distress in these conditions. Elephants are wild animals, they can not be tamed, only tortured. Tucan Travel do not condone any sort of cruelty to animals and do not visit attractions or sites where wildlife, including elephants are mistreated. Instead we visit wild national parks and reserves where the money is put back into the protection of these incredible creatures.
In celebration of World Elephant Day on the 12th August, we have compiled some of our favourite facts .
Fun facts about elephants
1 – Elephants are empathetic and can tell when family members are upset. They have been known to help injured herd members and even mourn when one of them dies.
2 – You may have heard the phrase “Memory like an elephant” – elephants are known to have a fantastic long-term memory with the ability to remember different watering holes when droughts occur.
3 – Although they are land mammals, elephants are really good swimmers. They love water, in fact, and can even use their trunks as snorkels.
4 – Elephants live in family groups with a matriarchal leader. When male elephants reach maturity they leave the herd and tend to hang out in ‘bachelor herds’. Elephant herds can reach numbers as high as 100, that
5- According to researchers, elephants are scared of bees. They are hoping this is a way farmers can deter elephants from approaching their farmland without resorting to human/elephant conflict.
6 – Elephants can’t jump and are the only mammals that do not have this ability. However African elephants can run at speeds up to 25mph.
7 – To protect themselves from sunburn, elephants throw sand on their backs.
8 – Elephants have no predators apart from man. Occasionally lions try their luck with elephant calves however they are usually firmly protected by the herd.
9 – Elephants use their tusks for many things, to forage for food, strip bark from trees, to attract mates or even fight off rivals. Like humans, elephants can be right or left-tusked and favour one side over the other. This explains why their tusks can appear uneven, the favoured side can be worn down faster.
10 – Elephants form tight-knit social groups, grieve, display many signs of empathy and recognise themselves in mirrors. According to scientists, self-awareness when looking in a mirror, indicates that a being is ‘conscious’. Most animals will assume that the reflection is another animal. Elephants are distinguished, complex emotional and intelligent creatures, we should make sure we do what we can to protect them.