Essay On Elephants – When we think of intelligent beings on earth, one instantly remembers the majestic elephant. Elephants are among the largest animals on earth; classified as – mammals family is Elephantidae and Order is Proboscidea.
The Elephants can grow upto 6.5mtrs in height and can weigh more than 6000 kgs! Elephant are plant eating animals and live in forests, deserts, savannahs and marshes of Asia and Africa. They move in groups in search of food and water.
Essay On Elephants
There are three species of Elephant viz – Asian elephant, African bush elephant and African forest elephant. The elephants have a lifespan of upto 70 years. The gestation period of an elephant is 22 months.
History and Importance of elephant
Elephants have been mentioned in mythology and popular culture. Drawings have been found on walls of caves of the prehistoric period. Since then, they have been portrayed in paintings, sculptures on old buildings, songs and films.
They are revered as gods in the Hindu Mythology. Lord Ganesh, who is the source of wisdom and bestower of boons, has an elephant head and a human body. According to Srimad Bhagavatam, the Earth is held by four elephants Virupaksha, Mahapadma, Sumanasa and Bhadra in four cardinal directions. The text further adds that earthquakes are a result of the slight movements of these elephants when they tire.
Elephants form a mount for various Gods in Hindu mythology like Brihaspati, Indra, Shachi and Lakshmi.
Elephants are also revered in Japanese Buddhism. White elephants are considered sacred in Thailand and Burma. One year of Chinese Zodiac calendar is dedicated to the Elephant.
Africans see the elephant as an impartial settler of disputes. According to the Islamic traditions, the year Prophet Muhammad took birth is called year of elephant.
The name of an island in Mumbai harbor is called Elephanta island in honour of the Elephant. Elephanta caves were named because ,the portuguese landing at the harbor first noticed an elephant artifact in front of these caves.
On the extreme western side of the world, American Republican party has adopted the Elephant as its party symbol. Elephant also is seen in negative implications as a symbol of burden because of its weight.
Appearance of elephant
Elephants are at present the biggest walking land animals on Earth. They are grey in colour have a short tail with a tuff at the of it end. They have a long Ivory proboscis called trunk which they use for activities like lifting water, lifting materials and also breathing.
The incisors of these gentle giants grow out of their mouth and form tusks. They have long elongated flap like ears that help, maintain their body temperature. They have four thick log-like legs and finally two small eyes.
Nature of an elephant
Nature of elephants can be analyzed from the following
Only Female elephants live in groups along with their little ones. Many such groups intermingle and socialize. Once an adult male reaches the age of 3 he leaves the group and rejoins only for mating.
Elephant is more intelligent than most animals. It is self aware like us. Like human beings, it also displays empathy when one of its group members dies.
5 mtrs tall, 5000+kgs weight, huge trunk and other features make it a gigantic animal as compared to other mammals on earth. They are a thus a dominant and aggressive species and even lions think twice before coming in front of them.
Domesticated elephants are known to be loyal to their owners but may turn aggressive if they are exploited. Elephants have excellent memories and can remember a face from many years. This fact has been recorded by many naturalists during their observations.
Usefulness of elephant
Elephant helps man as well as the environment around it in many ways. Elephants take-in a lot of food and defecate seeds and thus disperse seeds of various plant to places where they move.
Elephants are keystone species in savannah grasslands. They control the growth of acacia trees in the Savannah due to which the grasslands thrive. Grass in turn feeds herbivores like zebras, wildebeest and zebras. Predators like hyenas and lions also thrive because prey is in plenty. Thus the complete food chain is sustained because of the elephant.
The tusks of elephants are precious and hence they have been killed in large numbers over the years. Governments and NGOs have been working together in both Africa and Asia where they reside to stop this menace. Since elephants are intelligent beings they were one of the first animals to be domesticated.
They have been used to drag heavy objects. Elephants can uproot trees as well as drag them off to far off places.
Elephants have been used to transport persons and goods to far off places. The maharajas of yore have used elephants as a mount to display royalty on their visits to see the public
Some elephants have been used for wars, especially in countries like India. Elephants were representation of military might of an army. They have been known to trample the enemy at the same time protecting the rulers and the countrymen who have employed them.
Elephants are revered in countries like India and are used for holy rituals in temples like Guruvayoor in Kerala.
Young elephants have been caught and trained and used for entertainment purposes in various circuses.
They have also been used to domesticate other wild elephants.
Elephants are not called gentle giants without a reason. They may be huge but they are loyal. They socialize, remember and can be aggressive at times. Hence there is a need to provide a conducive atmosphere if it is a domesticated animal.
Wild elephants need also to be protected from poaching carried out by Ivory smugglers. African elephants are under the vulnerable list while asian elephants have become endangered according to IUCN. Government has to take necessary steps in this direction else, this wonderful creature may also be on the road to extinction like other amazing creatures which have crossed that path..
Also Read :