Majestic Gentle Giants – The Elephant

Who else just loves an Elephant? These majestic gentle giants continue to mesmerise one, not just because of their enormous size, prehistoric like quality and loving lumbering walk but for their truly unique qualities. One of our favourites is watching how they swim and the clever way they use their trunk as a snorkel!

Here are some more amazing elephant facts you might not know:

  • Even though an elephant’s trunk weighs about 400 pounds it can pick up things as small as a grain of rice.
  • Elephant calves can stand within 20mins of being born and can walk within 1 hour.
  • An elephant’s skin is 2.5cm thick in most places.
  • Their closest relative is a very small furry mammal – the Hyrax or rock rabbit.
  • Elephants are a lot like humans.
Infographics of Elephants - are a lot like human facts

These largest land mammals may have thick skin but sadly this has not protected them from being put on the endangered species list. Whether it is down to the ivory trade or habitat loss, both the African and Asian elephant numbers are dwindling. The sad fact is, that adult elephants have no real predators in the wild…except us! So, what can we do to help these majestic gentle giants?

The majority of Camps International’s conservation work with elephants has been in Kenya. Human-wildlife conflicts are common here due to high wildlife population and diversity. Often wildlife can be found outside of protected areas and reserves, resulting in wildlife and humans competing for the same resources. A common conflict could be crop raiding, attack on humans and property damage. These have negative impacts on the livelihood of people, who often respond by killing the wildlife involved.

These are just some of the projects that Camps International are doing for the community and the elephants:

Elephant Deterrent Fences
For those that have visited our camps in Kenya on expedition, you will be familiar with an ongoing project to put up elephant deterrent fences. The purpose of the fence is to create a noise in order to deter the elephants from crop raiding or damaging crops, helping the communities and wildlife enjoy a more peaceful co-existence.

Improving Natural Waterholes
It is not just people that are in desperate need of drinking water and in the Taru desert, water is essential to the survival of animals in this region. Camps International have worked with the Rukinga Sanctuary bordering the Tsavo National Parks since 2008 helping with providing water through:

  • digging and improving natural waterholes,
  • improving inflow channels to water catchment areas and
  • renovating numerous cattle tanks that are a vital source of water for up to 1000 elephants.

By increasing the amount of waterholes and drinking areas for elephants, it draws them away from the village water sources and reduces the chance of human-wildlife conflict.

Elephant Dung Paper
Working alongside the Tumaini Women’s Group, travellers and women alike turn easy-to-find materials (dung) into a product that can be sold. This helps provide a sustainable business for the local people, helps remove elephant waste from contaminating food and water supplies and gives elephants a purpose in the eyes of the community.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!

Even though the 16th April marks #savetheelephantday it takes more than just one day of awareness to make it count and help protect these gentle giants.

Why not do your bit and:

  • Follow ethical tourism guidelines
  • Support elephant conservation
  • Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products
  • Do not support places that exploit elephants for entertainment

For more information on the work that Camps International are doing worldwide take a look at our Global Impact Reports.

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