African elephants are the largest living land mammal and the most impressive animal on earth. African elephants are found in most national Parks in Uganda such as Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Kibale National park and Queen Elizabeth National Park more especially Ishasha sector. African elephants are divided into 2 subspecies that is; savannah elephants, scientific name is Loxodonata africana africana and forest elephants scientifically called Loxodonata africana cyclotis. Forest elephants are smaller and stockier with straighter narrower downward pointing tusks while the savanna elephants have sparse body hair, more triangular ears that are larger and thicker with curved tusks. The male African elephants have larger, heavier built with curved foreheads and thicker tusks while the female elephants are lighter with angular foreheads, slender, pointed tusks with breasts located between their forelegs. Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many years. The memory serves matriarchs well during dry season when they need to guide their herds to watering holes that they remember from the past. Elephants can communicate over long distances by producing a sub sonic rumble that can travel over the ground faster than sound through air. Other elephants receive the message through the sensitive skin of their feet and trunks.
African elephants use trunks for many purposes but most especially to draw water and grass for feeding and to create a way in the wild. Trunks help push trees down to get fruits and also help in digging salt. Sometimes raises the trunk up with ears wide when it sights danger. The trunk can take up to 15litres of water in a single draw. Elephant’s ears control the body temperature. The elephant’s tusks help in clearing weeds away from the water. The tusks of a fully grown elephant measures up to 3 meters and weighs up to 90kg.
Elephants are sociable and affectionate animals, they have been observed caressing companions with their trunks and greeting other family members when they meet. They care for the weak individuals, adopt orphaned calves and even display grieving behavior over dead companion. African elephants live in tight matriarchal family groups of related females and their off springs. The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd. A new calf is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Females mature at 11 years and stay in the group while males mature at 15 years are usually expelled from the maternal herd. Mating season is mostly during the rainy season and gestation period takes 22months giving birth to normally a single calf which weighs about 200 to 250Ibs at birth.
African Elephants spends a round 16 hours feeding on grass, shrubs, tree branches, fruits seed pods and will consume 140 to 270kgs in a day. They rest for more or less than 2hours in the wild. African elephants like to cool off by playing in water and mud. The mud protects them from the sun.
They live in the wild between 50 to 80 years. A fully grown elephant weighs between 3500kg to 12000kg and the calf weighs about 105kg.The African elephants are endangered because poachers kill them for their ivory tusks.