ELEPHANT – power facts
- Asian and African elephants differ in both size and the shape of their ears. Asian elephants are smaller than their African brethren, and their ears are straight at the bottom, distinct from the large fan-shaped ears of the African species. Only some Asian male elephants have tusks, while African elephants—both male and female—sport the ivory.
- Elephants have the longest gestation period of any mammal—22 months. Females give birth every four to five years. Matriarchs also dominate the complex social structure of elephants and calves, while male elephants tend to live in isolation.
- Elephants are either left- or right-tusked, and the dominant tusk is generally smaller because of wear and tear from frequent use.
- An elephant trunk has up to 150,000 muscles in it. A human has more than 600 muscles in his/her entire body. Elephants use their trunks to pick up objects, trumpet warnings and greet one another.
- At least a third of tree species in central African forests rely on seeds passing through an elephant’s digestive tract before they can germinate.
- Tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year by poachers for their ivory. WEP combats this poaching and illegal wildlife trade by training and equipping rangers and community-based organizations to tackle poaching, and strengthening national and international laws and enforcement.