Experts are still debating on whether to make a distinction between African bush elephants and African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), or group them as a single species, under the umbrella term 'African elephants'. Owing to lack of evidence to support the classification, the two are considered separate species as of now.
Details on the African Bush Elephant
- Females emit low frequency sound waves or 'calls' to attract males. These calls can be heard over an area of up to 50 square kilometers. Bull elephants use their strong-smelling urine to attract compatible females.
- Gestation period in elephants is of 23 months, which is slightly longer than Asian elephants who have a gestation period of 22 months.
- Man is their only 'predator'. However, young calves can fall prey to hyenas, lions, leopards, and crocodiles as well.
- They are often hunted for economic value of their tusks, skin, and bones. Even though ivory poaching and its sale is banned, the slaughter of elephants continues.
- They can smell the presence of underground water.
- The trunk of this largest terrestrial animal weighs 140 kilograms, while its tongue and heart weigh 12 and 22 kilograms respectively.
- Musth secretion is a periodic condition in male elephants and is accompanied by rise in reproductive hormones.
- Bush elephants are emotional creatures who cry, laugh, and play. They even grieve at the death of their young ones and adults.
- Though they are known to live for 70 years, there is one particular record of an African bush elephant living for 82 years.
- On an average, their newborn elephant calf weighs 100 kg.
- Botswana has the largest population of elephants in the world.
- An African bush elephant emits approximately about 2,000 liters of methane gas everyday.
These elephants, because of their declining population, are listed as Vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).