Elephant & Rhino Facts
Elephant & Rhino Facts
The elephant is an iconic being on our planet. It is not hard to see why. Elephants are glorious, grand, and majestic. They are the largest animals to walk the surface of our planet. The largest elephant on record weighed 24 000 lbs! Despite their large size, they eat only a plant-based diet. Elephants are highly intelligent, self-aware, and sentient beings. They have incredible memories. They love to play. And to communicate, elephants purr like cats! There are two types of elephants: African and Asian. The African elephants have fantastic tusks. They use their tusks to defend themselves, dig for water, and lift objects. And did you know elephant dung is critical to a healthy ecosystem? The dung contains seeds from the fruits that elephants consume. As the elephants roam, the seeds disperse through their dung which helps to create and maintain a rich and biodiverse habitat.
Like us, elephants are family-oriented and show compassion by “hugging” and caressing each other. And like us, elephants cry and grieve. When passing a place where a loved one has died, an elephant will stop and remain silently still up to several minutes. The elephant will gently touch the bones of the deceased with its trunk and feet…
Elephants are endangered. The destruction of their habitat largely for cattle farms is a big threat. And they also face another very large and very direct threat. The African elephant is sought after for its magnificent tusks. The illegal sale of ivory is a huge and bloody business. Even terrorists are linked to selling ivory to fund their attacks. A pair of tusks from a single male elephant can weigh over 250 pounds. Each pound can be sold for up to $1500 on the black market. The sellers of the illegal market know that the less elephants we have on our planet, the higher they can drive up the price. China and the United States are the world’s largest markets for ivory products. Ivory is considered a luxury cultural item in China. The main ivory products produced to meet demand are… trinkets. Elephants are brutallly killed for these trinkets. Oftentimes, the elephants are still alive while the tusks are being hacked out of their heads. What is left is a gruesome headless elephant… China has finally stepped up this year to make the sale of all ivory illegal by the end of 2017. It is a step in the right direction, but we still have mountains to move in order to quash demand before it's too late for the elephants to survive as a species.
Asian elephants have been faced with a different issue. They are often domesticated for the tourist trade. They are also trained to work. But most recently, a new and shocking illegal black market has emerged. Asian elephants are being killed for their skins. Rangers have come across many bloody carcasses stripped of their skins. The poachers are ruthless – they are even skinning babies. In five months, more Asian elephants have been killed than in the last entire year. Why are elephants now being killed for their skin? There are claims that elephant skin can help to cure simple human skin conditions like eczema and acne. First, there is no proof that this is true. Second, it is beyond an outrage that endangered elephants would be killed for trivial skin problems.
Please help us raise the urgent alarm! Thank you for your support, and the elephants thank you too.
(Sources: http://www.happyelephantcontest.com/fun-facts/; http://theweek.com/articles/449437/tragic-price-ivory; https://www.thedodo.com/community/Elegirl/the-truth-about-tusks-648225506.html; http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/asian-elephants-skin-myanmar_us_593a5da3e4b0240268780d68 )
Rhinos look impressively prehistoric. That makes complete sense since this amazing species has been around for over 50 million years! The name rhinoceros comes from the Greek words rhino, which means nose, and ceros, which means horn. There are five species of rhinos. Two live in Africa (white and black rhinos – they are both actually grey) and three live in South-Asia (Javan, Sumatran, and Greater one-horned rhinos). Rhinos are big. The white rhino is the largest mammal on land after the elephant. It can weigh over 7700 lbs! As large as they are, they are herbivores. Rhinos are often pictured with a blue bird, the oxpecker. This amazing bird helps the rhino by eating bugs on its skin. And the oxpecker will call out to the rhino when danger is approaching. Fascinating! Sanctuary caretakers describe rhinos as having individual personalities and even being quite cuddly!
The black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos are all listed as critically endangered (50% chance of becoming extinct in three generations). The Javan rhino is the world’s rarest land mammal. There are about a mere 60 left... The rhino is being hunted for its splendid horn. It suffers an agonizing death – it is shot, its horn is sliced off, and then it is left to bleed to death… Increasing markets in China and Vietnam are driving the demand. The horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat things such as fever, headaches, and terminal illnesses. It is also used for trivial things such as hangovers and aphrodisiacs. And owning a horn is seen as a status symbol for the wealthy. Rhino horns, however, are made of keratin – the same substance that make up our fingernails and hair. So it is no more a medicinal remedy than our own nails and hair. It has never been proven that the horn has any medicinal properties at all. It is time to turn the tide on these dangerously lethal and misinformed cultural traditions that are bringing this magnificent being to the unacceptable brink of extinction.
Please help us raise the urgent alarm! Thank you for your support, and the rhinos thank you too.
(Sources: www.savetherhino.org; www.livescience.com; www.wildaid.org; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3396862/One-man-rhino-Touching-moment-orphaned-beast-man-saved-lean-selfie.html; https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/javan-rhino )