The African elephant is the largest land
mammal on Earth and perhaps one of the
most intelligent. The trunk of the African
elephant has two finger-like structures at its
tip that allow the animal to perform both delicate
and powerful movements. Its remarkable tusks first
appear when the animal is two years of age and continue
to grow throughout life. Elephants use tusks for peeling
bark off trees, digging for roots, herding young, “drilling”
for water and sometimes as a weapon. 

Males reach a length of 18 to 21 feet and weigh up to
13,200 pounds. Females are about two feet shorter and
weigh half as much. 

400,000 to 600,000 (down from perhaps 10 million early in this century) 

Elephants can live 50 to 60 years. 

Throughout Africa south of the Sahara desert. 

Elephants are capable of surviving in nearly any habitat that has adequate quantities of food and water. 

Elephants spend about 16 hours a day eating. Their diet is varied and includes grass, leaves, twigs, bark and fruit. 

Elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight social units. A family is led by an older matriarch and typically includes three or four of her offspring and their young. Males leave the family unit between the ages of 12 and 15 and may lead solitary adult lives. 

Females carry their young for almost two years. At birth, the calf weighs about 250 pounds. A cow may give birth every three to four years. 

Increasing human populations, habitat loss and the ivory trade are the greatest threats to the elephants’ future. 

*CITES, Appendix I (except in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, where they are listed as Appendix II), African Elephant Conservation Act, Endangered Species Act 

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty with more than 144 member countries. Appendix I listed species cannot be traded commercially. Appendix II listed species can be traded commercially only if trade does not harm their survival. 
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