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Archive for February 2nd, 2020

The Great Gray Gift

dsc01786-2My last post discussed the lion–the first of the “Big Five”–but now let’s take a look at the BIGGEST of the “Big Five,” the elephant.

The African elephant is an herbivore, feeding on grasses, creepers, herbs, leaves and bark and is the largest living land animal on earth. Bulls reach a shoulder height of up to 13’ while the females are about 8 1/2’. Both male and female have tusks, which erupt when they are 1–3 years old and continue to grow throughout life. 

We can easily differentiate the African elephant from the smaller Asian elephant by its much larger ears which he uses both to cool himself and to get rid of pesky bugs.

Most of us have seen this gigantic beast at the circus or in a zoo, but no matter where you see them, they are usually eating.

I suppose that’s not surprising since they may consume up to 600 pounds of food a day. But for me, having seen them in the circus didn’t begin to compare to seeing them in their own environment—

—especially when they were at play.

Or simply finding relief from the African sun by chillin’ in the cool water.

The African Elephant population has been declining dramatically across the continent. Thank goodness for places like Kruger National Park which protect large herds. Because of these parks’ conservation measures, the Elephant population in South Africa has grown from about 120 in 1920 in 4 locations, to 10,000 at 40 locations to date.  They’re going to stay around, and that’s an amazing gift for which I am thankful.

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That’s two of the Big Five down, and three to go.

To be continued...

 

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