African Elephant

1. The mammal I chose to study isAfrican Elephant


2. The common name of my mammal is: African Elephant

3. The classification of my mammal:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Genus: Luxodonta
Species: adaurora

4. What are some of the animal’s physical adaptations to its environment?

Trunk: Elongated nose, sucking up water and spraying them in their mouths, to reach up in trees and grab foliage, tipped with two "fingers" which let it pick up small objects or examine them

Ears: small blood vessels through them which dissipate heat from the blood, used as fans to cool down in the hot weather

Tusks: elephants incisor teeth, help grind plant material to help it eat.

Legs: Column like, same width from top to bottom and their feet are round and have pads to support themselves when standing and walking

5. What are some of the organism’s behavioral adaptations to its environment?

Male African Elephants weigh 5455kg (12,000) and females weigh 3636 to 4545kg (8,000 to 11,000 lbs). An adult elephant poops up to 300 lbs of poo a day. They poop so they can help themselves breathe by getting weight off of them making it easier to move and breathe.
They use their tusks to help break down materials.

6. What is the role of your organism in the food chain? Be specific about role as a producer, consumer or decomposer. If a consumer, then describe the food preferences, like herbivore, carnivore or omnivore.

They are consumers and herbivores. They eat mainly leaves and grass and drink a lot of water. (190 liters per day)
Many plant species rely on going through an elephant's digestive system before they can germinate. It's said that at least a third of tree species in west African forests rely on elephants in this way.

7. Describe the biome where this organism lives.

This organism lives in the Savannah, Grassland and in some Tropical Forest biomes. Most live in the Grasslands though. It is very dry there with a lot of plants and trees. There are two seasons in the Savannah biome. There is a dry season (winter) and a very wet season (summer). It is usually around 70 degrees there. It usually receives 25-75 centimeters of rain each year. The African elephant helps keep the cycle of the acacia tree. Some but not as many also live in Tropical Forests. In Tropical Forests the climate is warm and humid all year long. Tall trees there form a leafy roof canopy.

African elephants live in most of Southern Africa.


8. Discuss the status of the species. Is it plentiful, threatened, endangered or extinct?

From 1979 to 1989 the African Elephant lost half of its population due to illegal poaching for their tusks. Their tusks are made out of ivory and traded illegally a lot. They went from a population of 1.3 million to 600,000.

9. How do humans impact your organism? (Hot Tip: Think of the HIPPO dilemma – handout)

Humans impact the African Elephant by poaching them for their ivory tusks then they usually sell them on the black market. Humans also impact them by destroying their habitats. It can reduce their survival rate, food and water sources, and breeding sites available to the elephants.

external image moz-screenshot.jpg

11. Amazing facts:

An Elephant herd can have 5-1,000 elephants and is led by an old female, called matriarch.An elephant eats daily during the the dry season 15-170 kg of food and drinks 80 liters of water, while during the rainy season they eat 200-280 kg of food daily. Elephants communicate through infrasounds with a frequency of 14-24 Hz.


Image 1:
Image 2:
Research Resources:
Life Science Science Explorer
external image C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CANDERS%7E1%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image002.jpg