The largest existing land animal, the elephant, is an iconic animal of both Asia and Africa. The denial of these animals is just almost impossible, and they are often enjoyed by numerous travellers in their natural habitat.
Elephants are the largest existing land animals and are regarded as the "gentle giants" of the animal kingdom. They are scattered throughout most of Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, and they are herbivores. There are two main recognised species: the African elephant and the Asian elephant.
Elephants are said to be one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. They are capable of using tools, exhibiting mirror self-recognition, and have the ability to remember people they have encountered, even after decades. Elephants are capable of holding grudges against humans or animals that have harmed or mistreated them.
Like humans, elephants are capable of exhibiting empathy and they also have their own unique mourning rituals.
Elephants are considered endangered species; they have long had a history of conflict with and mistreatment by humans. Scores of wild elephants are poached for their tusks each year, and many zoos and circuses worldwide have been accused of poorly treating elephants in captivity.
Many countries have since made efforts to clamp down on the ivory trade and protect elephants from harm.
- 1 Addo Elephant National Park – Eastern Cape, South Africa
- 2 Amboseli National Park — Kenya
- 3 Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre – Pahang, Malaysia
- 4 Elephant Nature Park – Chiang Mai, Thailand
- 5 Chobe National Park – Botswana
- Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve – Malawi
- Sayaboury Elephant Conservation Centre – Laos
- 6 Hwange National Park – Zimbabwe
- 7 Periyar National Park – India
- 8 Katavi National Park – Tanzania
- See also: Dangerous animals#Elephants
Elephants are big enough, that they can hurt you accidentally if you are close to them. An aggressive elephant, or one that feels threatened, can easily kill you – keep your distance and act calmly.
- See also: Animal ethics
As aforementioned, elephants are endangered. Therefore, you should do you part, as a model citizen, to protect these animals from further danger.
There are many ways in which you can make a difference, but the best place to start is to volunteer with an organisation dedicated to elephant conservation. Some organisations may even allow you to "adopt" an elephant for a fee.
You should avoid zoos, circuses, or shelters where elephants are not treated properly. Such places around the world use elephants solely for the sake of entertainment - not the way to treat elephants, or any other animal, for that matter.
Do not buy ivory products; it is unethical and shows support for elephant poaching and the ivory trade. Demand for ivory is exactly what causes elephants to be poached and killed. You can up the ante by raising awareness about the issue and why it should stop. Don't expect big things to happen though; it will take time for your efforts to be noticed.
Show your support for products made from elephant dung; elephant dung has many uses and applications (paper, mosquito repellent, fertilisers, medicine, even coffee!), and it is said that inhaling the smoke of smoldering elephant dung can cure toothaches and headaches. It's as good as saying that buying anything made from elephant dung is ethical and shows support for elephant conservation. Without elephants, none of those things would exist.