Elephants are the largest of all land animals. They are unique not just because of their enormous size, but also because of their trunk, which is a muscular appendage that is used for smelling, trumpeting, feeding, drinking, touching, grasping and digging. Elephants, which live in Africa and Asia, are adapted to warm climates. Their enormous ears are highly vascular, allowing blood to cool as it circulates through them. Their skin, which is furless, is wrinkled, allowing for a greater surface area for cooling with water and mud.
Elephants are made for walking, foraging and exploring large spaces. In the wild, elephants inhabit very large home ranges and walk considerable distances almost every day. Their home ranges can be several hundred square kilometers all the way up to 5,000 square kilometers or more in size.
Wild elephants need large areas to live and protection from poachers who kill them for their ivory tusks. Captive elephants in circuses and zoos also require protection because their need for lots of space, stimulation, companionship and a warm climate are not being met.
You Can Help Elephants!
- Tell your family and friends not to buy anything made from ivory.
- Don’t attend circuses or shows that feature live elephants.
- Organize a school fundraiser to help elephant protection groups and sanctuaries.
- Speak up for Canada’s lonely elephant Lucy who lives in the Edmonton Zoo. Print this postcard template on card stock paper, draw a picture on the front, write a message on the back and mail it to the City of Edmonton telling them how you feel about Lucy’s current home.
To know more about the elephants in the wild and in captivity:
- Learn more about Lucy at savelucy.ca.
- Read the following books: Elephant Journey by Rob Laidlaw, 5 Elephants by Rob Laidlaw Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends by Carol Buckley, Elephants: A Book for Children by Steve Bloom.
- Watch the EleCam at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee to discover more about an elephant’s habitat.
- Then take a quiz to test your knowledge of elephant families and communication.