Save the elephants

This video says about itself:

26 May 2015

Amazing and touching video of a herd of elephants helping an elephant calf that has collapsed in the road.

Taken in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Video sent in by: Juanita.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

The elephant in the room

9 December 2016

Together with a rapidly growing number of zoologists and environmentalists, PETER FROST is increasingly exasperated at the advancing, but preventable, extinction of the world’s elephants

The spa town of Leamington has many fine Victorian features but few as impressive as the Jephson Gardens first laid out in 1831 as informal riverside walks along the River Leam and then developed into formal Victorian gardens after 1846.

It was named in honour of Dr Henry Jephson, the famous doctor who had first promoted the town as a spa and encouraged his patients to drink and bathe in the health-giving mineral-rich spring waters in the town.

Among Jephson Gardens’ most unusual features is an elephant wash — a large paved ramp leading down to the river. The first elephant trainer in England was Sam Lockhart, born to a circus family in Leamington in 1850.

Lockhart brought three elephants to the town and taught them tricks. They were taken down to bathe in the river in the centre of town but when their trumpeting disturbed worshippers in the parish church it was decided to construct a purpose-built elephant wash in Jephson Gardens. It is still there but today, sadly, rarely used by elephants.

All over the gardens and indeed all over the town you will find statues, fountains, plaques and illustrations featuring the towns favourite animal.

The elephant is the world’s largest land animal. The biggest can be up to 7.5m long, 3.3m high at the shoulder, and 6 tonnes in weight.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to be invited to South Africa to help the new ANC ministry of tourism attract visitors to that beautiful country.

One of the most exciting places I visited was Addo Elephant Park in Nelson Mandela Bay — it is the third-largest national park in South Africa with spectacular wildlife including hundreds of wild elephants. It was wonderful to live alongside the huge beasts.

There are two subspecies of African elephants — Addo’s are the larger savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana), which roams grassy plains and woodlands.

The other is the smaller forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), which lives in the equatorial forests of central and western Africa.

Since 1979, African elephants have lost over half of their habitat and this, along with massive ivory poaching, has seen the population drop significantly.

Back in the early part of the 20th century, there were between three and five million elephants in Africa. Now the total population is well under half a million and that number is dropping fast, perhaps reaching just 400,000.

Unless we halt the decline and stop the murderous slaughter for ivory, unless we learn to live with the elephant, they may become totally extinct.

Can we really tolerate a situation where our great-grandchildren will never see a live elephant? Elephants live in a complex social structure of herds composed of related females and their calves. Males usually live alone but sometimes form small groups with other males.

After mating and a 22-month gestation a single calf is born — it will be nursed for over six years. Elephants can live up to around 70 years.

Despite a ban on the international trade in ivory they are still being poached in large numbers. Their tusks are the most sought after but their meat and skin are also traded. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year and poaching is increasing.

The ivory is often carved into ornaments and jewellery — China is the biggest consumer market for such products.

Another threat to this proud beast comes from the expanding human population as more land is being converted to agriculture. The elephant habitat is shrinking and becoming more fragmented, which severs their ancient migration routes.

The result is elephants and people don’t mix easily as elephants will, during those seasonal migrations, sometimes cross farmers’ fields damaging crops which affects the farmers’ livelihoods — and elephants have been known to kill people and been killed in retaliation.

The elephants I saw at Addo have small or no tusks. Over the years this made them less attractive to poachers who tended to hunt down the bigger tuskers. The result was that small tusked animals become dominant. This isn’t natural selection but selection by illegal slaughter.

Today poaching is much better controlled and elephant numbers in Addo are increasing but this is only one location.

The elephants that Lockhart brought to Leamington more than 150 years ago were Indian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) from what was then Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

Indian elephant populations are just as threatened as their African cousins. Since 1986 the population has declined by at least half but they are threatened by habitat loss rather than poaching. Only male Asian elephants have tusks, meaning that females are safe from ivory poachers.

All elephants need our protection. Yet if the decline in all species continues at its present rate then in between 20 and 40 years there will be no elephants anywhere in the wild.

It is unthinkable that our great-grandchildren will never have the chance to see one in the wild.

African elephants sold off to American trophy hunters: here.

Wild elephants clock shortest shut-eye recorded for mammals. Average snooze of two hours per night deepens mystery of sleep’s role. By
Susan Milius, 2:01pm, March 1, 2017: here.

Elephants in Kenya video

This video from Kenya says about itself:

17 November 2016

Visiting Ol Pejeta in the rainy season is a lot of fun! It is a time of plenty for the animals and when the rain stops and the sun comes out, everything glistens and shines! Join us as we drive through the mud and watch male elephants challenging each other for females.

Woolly mammoths, why extinct?

This video says about itself:

18 November 2016

What caused woolly mammoths to die-off so quickly? New evidence suggests an unfavorable climate may have contributed to a loss of grazing habitats, which eventually drove them to extinction.


African elephant orphans in Kenya

This video says about itself:

6 October 2016

In the Samburu Conservancy a tuskless matriarch elephant shows kindness towards young orphan elephants that are trying to find their way in the Kenyan bush.

Baby elephant playing, video

This video from South Africa says about itself:

Baby Elephant‘s Piggy Back Ride Goes Adorably Wrong

27 October 2016

Baby Ellies just want to have fun….

The animal kingdom in all its majesty can also bring about light hearted family moments as you can see when this young elephant was playing around with a fellow member and took an unexpected tumble.

Watch this funny moment captured on a trip to Addo Elephant Park by 50 year old train driver, Thys Pretorius.

“We were standing still at a dam in Addo just watching the elephants bathing and playing around. You could see there was so much joy and excitement amongst the herd. I was just loving sitting there and watching them all have fun.

Suddenly my eye caught a boisterous young calf trying to climb on top of another sibling. All was going well but then the next moment he underestimated his push off the ground and took a roll right off the other youngster.

After that the herd just started moving on as if nothing had happened.

It was a really sweet and funny moment and I’m so glad I got it captured on film. This really made my day.”

Chinese elephants saved from reservoir

This video says about itself:

Wild elephants rescued from reservoir in SW China

12 October 2016

Three wild Asian elephants, two adults and a baby, were trapped in a reservoir in southwest China’s Yunnan Province for more than two days, which may cause them to choke on the water and die from hunger.

Rescuers tried many ways and finally managed to save these endangered animals on Tuesday by digging out a path from one side of the pond.

Dutch NOS TV writes today about this (translated):

Over two days, they were stuck in a five-meter deep tank: two wild adult elephants and a baby elephant. Foresters found the animals in south[western] China after getting information from locals, but could not immediately launch a rescue operation because of heavy rains.

Probably the baby elephant first fell in a tank full of water and its parents then fell in a rescue attempt. Images on Chinese state TV show how other elephants ran around the edge of the reservoir. In order to save the trapped animals, the other elephants first had to be driven away with firecrackers.

Eventually, rescue workers with a backhoe demolished the wall of the tank, and the elephants could get out.