Uganda is gifted with many beautiful creatures. Among them are the largest land mammals, both the Savannah and African forest elephants.
As a child 19 years ago, I could recognize elephants for they were surely my favorite animals and no matter how old I get they still remain my favorites; that’s because they are totally majestically awesome.
Elephants can be found in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale Forest, Rwenzori mountains foothill, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Semliiki Park, Mount Elgon and Bwindi impenetrable forest.
According to the survey report by Wildlife Conservation Society, the Great Elephant’s Census and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda is growing its elephants’ population by 60 percent to more than 5,000 individuals from as low as 700 to 800 in the 1980’s.
This is all because Uganda put up strong mechanisms against poachers looking for ivory.
Once an individual is caught with ivory, it is burned and the government ensures the criminals face the courts of laws to account for their actions.
A male elephant is known as a bull, female is a cow and the young one is a calf.
Elephants have a Matriarchal society led by a Matriarch who dominates the complex social structure of elephants and in fact makes decisions for the herd, hence leaving the rest of the males to isolate themselves in small bachelor groups.
Elephants take four to five years without giving birth but when they do they take 22 months to give birth making them have the longest gestation period.
They sleep about four hours each day and can hear one another’s calls up to 5miles away.
Infant elephants have few survival instincts and are instead taught by their mothers and herd as time goes on.
Modesty is how an elephant moves; slow but sure. This is caused by its weight. Surprisingly, though, they can swim for long distances.
They have two gaits one is a walk and the other is like a run but they cannot jump because of their weight.
Elephants can feed for 16 hours; no wonder they have that weight. They require up to 600 pound of food and lots of water to help them digest the food.
Their favorite fruit is got from the Amarula tree; it’s sweet and yellow in color.
Elephants keep visiting the tree from time to time to check if the fruits have produced enough alcohol for them to get drunk.
They have six sets of teeth … each set falls out and are replaced with a new one until they eventually all fall out for good when the elephant is old.
So in most cases they die of malnutrition or starvation.
Elephants have good eye sight, smell as well as hearing and are also very intelligent animals with a good memory for it’s said it can keep the memory for almost 35 years and even pass it on to the young ones.
They can differentiate between men, women and even between different ethnicities.
Elephants can smell water from as far as 12 miles away and detect rain 150 miles away.
Their skin is so sensitive that they can feel a fly landing on them.
Most surprisingly they can recognize themselves in the mirror.
Elephants sometimes hug and great each other by wrapping their trunks together isn’t this lovely.
Like other animals, they have death rituals. When one of theirs is sick they all take care of it till its back on its feet.
They can get sun burn that’s why they use mad as a skin block and use their large ears to radiate excess heat away from the body.
They are actually afraid of bees and locals are often advised to use them as a way of protecting themselves from elephant attacks.