The African elephants are very interesting wildlife species that tourists cannot miss seeing while on Uganda wildlife safaris in Murchison falls national park, Kidepo valley national park and Queen Elizabeth national park. African elephants are called so because their ears have a shape of an African map. African elephants are the largest land mammal species on the planet and are ranked among the big five mammals in Uganda.
The big size of the elephants requires them to feed lots of food and drink enough water to maintain their bodies with the energy they need. This explains why elephants spend most of their time just feeding and having a rest for about 2 to 3 hours only. They are herbivores and predominantly feed on grass and other plant leaves. A fully-grown elephant eats about 270 kilograms of grass and leaves a day and several liters of water which it takes using its trunk. An elephant trunk is very strong in that it’s capable of holding over 14 litters of water in just a single drink. An elephant trunk is a very useful organ in elephants that is used for feeding and taking water.
In the 1980’s the elephant population in Uganda was greatly threatened by poachers who hunted down the elephants for ivory. Some of the elephants would also be killed once they strayed away to people’s gardens. This greatly undermined the elephant population in the country greatly reducing the numbers. For that reason, elephants were listed in the endangered species category however the good news is that today the elephant population has started increasingly.
Elephants are very interesting and sensitive animals with the largest brains in all the mammal species. This size of the brain is of a very great advantage to them as they are capable of remembering something or an event that happened way back.
Communication among elephants is very interesting as they use their trunks, skin and their feet as they trample on the ground. Being the largest land mammals, a mere trample on the ground generates sound that can be heard meters away.
Just like other mammals, elephants live in groups/families of their closest relatives however the strongest elder female elephants usually lead these families. Normally, the female African elephants don’t usually mix with the males. These female elephants being mothers are very protective of the young elephants and therefore act aggressively in defense of the young ones in case of any intrusion.
In terms of reproduction, African elephants usually mate during the wet and cold season. The female elephant’s gestation period takes 22 months after which they produce a bouncing baby elephant weighing about 300 pounds. This long gestation period does not give elephants a chance to produce a lot of calves in their life time an on average they just produce about only 4 calves which can be after 4 to 5 years before the age of 40.
Interestingly, female elephants are very sexually active capable of producing as early as the age of 9 which is not the case with the male elephants that become sexually active until they reach the age of 30.
In terms of growth, elephants take long to mature emotionally and physically until they are between the ages of 15 to 20. African elephants also loose their teeth a lot however the good news is that their molar teeth keep on growing back to replace the lost teeth.
Elephants are very interesting animals to look at while on a safari however there are other wildlife species in Uganda national parks that can be viewed while on wildlife safaris that include giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes and many bird species.