Symbol of power, strength and wisdom, the elephant is the largest land mammal with the giraffe. This big pachyderm is also known for its intelligence and memory. ‘pachyderm’ comes from the ancient Greek ‘pakhus’ as thick, and ‘derma’ as skin. Indeed the skin of the elephant is very thick and is approx. 2cm thick in most places
There are three species of elephants
There are three species of elephants today: the African Savanna (Bush) Elephant, the African Forest Elephant and the Asian Elephant. The African elephant or Loxodonta Africana is the largest of the three types of elephant. With a weight of up to 6 tons on average for males, it can stand up to 4m high at the withers. Males reach their full size at approximately 35-40 years and can live up to 60-70 years as wild elephants. Its physical qualities are imposing and easily recognizable with its large ears, trunk and tusks. You can tell the 3 species apart by their ears and trunk. The ears of the African Elephants are much larger and are being shaped like the African continent. They have two fingers at the tip of their trunks, whereas the Asian Elephants have only one. If his tusks are essential for him to fight, dig up roots, find his way or eat well, they have unfortunately also been fatal to him for several centuries and represent the greed of unscrupulous and barbaric poachers which leads to a vertiginous decline of the species which keep accelerating since the 19th century.
More than 20000 elephants are killed every year
Each year between 20,000 and 30,000 elephants are illegally killed by poachers for their meat, their skin but mainly for their ivory tusks. Around 90% of African Elephants habe been wiped out in the past century, largely due to the ivory trade. While habitat loss and conflict with humans are real threats, the main cause of decline remains poaching. On the African continent there are today 415,000 individuals compared to 3 to 5 million at the beginning of the 20th century. The most affected elephant is the Asian elephant listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. With a 50% decline recorded over the last three generations, there would be fewer than 50,000 individuals left in the wild.
On the African continent, for example, we find that half of the dead elephants are the result of criminal acts. Elephants are hunted even within prestigious natural parks.
Poaching is not the only threat
Poaching is not the only threat: global warming, habitat loss and conflicts with humans also represent real threats. Deforestation for agricultural purposes, additions and multiplication of new economic project developments, the construction of mines, roads and dams destroy every day the habitat of elephants, thus considerably reducing their chances of survival.
The growth in human population and the lack of living surfaces have resulted in an increasing encroachment on the habitat of elephants and consequently a competition for space and food with humans. Everyone loses: farmers lose their crops, their animals and sometimes lose their lives. Elephants already threatened or endangered are killed in retaliation or to avoid future conflicts.
The elephant plays a key role for its environment
And yet the elephant plays a key role for its environment, for example by creating small water points during the dry seasons that many animals use. By trampling the vegetation, they promote bio-diversity and consequently the development of other species.
There are several organizations that fight daily for the protection of the species, here are a few: wwf, ifaw, african wildlife foundation.
At MAURICE we have decided to give each of our dog & cat products the scientific name of an animal whose situation is critical. Loxodonta Africana is our first dog bow tie launched in 2022. It is our way today to raise awareness.