The elephant is an animal that appeals to the imagination of humans. It is the largest living land animal on earth. Everyone knows the elephant. Most people who have seen a real elephant have seen it in a zoo or a circus. Unfortunately the elephant is an endangered animal and there are fewer and fewer species in the wild. Poachers kill elephants to get their tusks: they are worth a lot of money.
Once there were 300 species of elephants. Currently there are two species left: the Asian elephant (30,000) and the African elephant (500,000). They now only live in parks in the south of Africa and in South Asia in the last remaining jungles, especially in India. A long time ago, in the ice age, the elephant lived throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.
Both the African elephant and the Asian elephant descended from the mammoth. The mammoth had more hair and very crooked tusks. Characteristic of the elephant is of course his trunk and the tusks. The trunk probably arose because of the tusks. The tusks make it hard for the elephant to reach his food, but through his trunk he can pick it up and put it in his mouth. The elephant also uses his trunk to suck up water and run it in his mouth (a whole bucket at a time). He can also use his trunk well for a water or sand shower. And finally, certainly not unimportant: the elephant can smell very well with its trunk.
The skin of the elephant has a gray color and is up to 2.5 centimeters thick. Because of their big tusks elephants are sometimes called tusker. Elephants are very intelligent and caring mammals, with a good memory. They protect their young very well, by standing around it when there is danger. The elephants live in herds with only females and young elephants.
The differences between the African and the Asian elephant are: