In the first days of September came the shocking news from Botswana: here poachers in the last three months killed 87 elephants! The corpses are found very close to the wildlife sanctuary in the Okavango Delta, which attracts tourists from all over the world. According to the staff of the Elephants Without Borders organization, this lawlessness is the largest scale of poaching in recent years. In Botswana, the largest population of elephants lives – about 130 000 individuals. The country until today was called the last refuge for animals in Africa, since poachers because of ivory destroy flocks throughout the continent, reports the BBC.
The elephant is a social animal. Usually they form groups of females and cubs, headed by an old and experienced female (among the animals there is matriarchy). “Men” form separate herds. An adult male may temporarily join a “female” herd in which there is at least one individual ready to conceive. Female are a vivid example of a collective and gentle education. Pregnancy of the elephant lasts 22 months (one of the longest periods of pregnancy in the world); she gives birth to a blind, sturdy woman weighing under 100 kg, which in the first weeks needs constant guardianship. Females jointly care for the offspring, allowing each other sometimes to rest. In the case of predator attacks, they selflessly protect all the young in the group.
The elephant is an intelligent animal. His brain weighs 5 kg and is more complicated than many of the living world. These giants are capable of cooperation, they have excellent abilities to learn and use tools, they can show joy, weep with sadness, compassion or pain. If the animal is ill, the relatives take care of it whenever possible, in particular, they bring food.
They are the only ones that have a burial ritual. For this, elephants dig a shallow grave, cover the dead with mud and branches and spend some time with him, standing at the grave. The level of intelligence of elephants is as high as that of anthropoid apes and dolphins. They also have an amazingly good memory. There are cases when elephants took revenge on offenders after many years. However, good elephants also do not forget.
The life span of an elephant is affected by its habitat. In the natural environment, animals constantly face dangers, in particular with drought and poachers. Up to 8-10 years old cubs can not protect themselves independently and in case of death of the mother they perish from predators if they fight off the herd. On average, their life expectancy is 60 to 75 years.
Elephants have always been under the close attention of a man. They were used in war and as “cargo carriers”, in logging and in agriculture, and in recent decades – actively in the tourism business. Few tourists know (they just do not talk about it) that the elephants suffer very much from the saddles, which are fixed on their backs for walks. Sitting on an elephant can only be on the neck.
Unfortunately, the most cynical act in relation to such an amazing animal – hunting for them because of tusks exists until now! And this despite the fact that the international sale of ivory is banned since 1989 by the CITES agreement. One of the world’s largest exporters of ivory is the United Kingdom.