These amazing animals are the largest land mammal on earth weighing up to 8 tons. They were once common throughout Africa and Asia, but due to the ivory trade elephant numbers were severely depleted during the 20th century.
The great news is that some populations are now stable and growing however poaching, conflict and habitat destruction continue to threaten the species. They roam herds and consuming hundreds of pounds of plant matter in a single day and require extensive amounts of water and space. As a result, these large mammals place great demands on the environment and often come into conflict with people in competition for resources.
Led by a matriarch, elephants are organised into complex social structures of females and calves, while male elephants tend to live in isolation. A single calf is born to a female once every 4-5 years and after a gestation period of 22 months—the longest of any mammal. These calves stay with their mothers for years and are also cared for by other females in the group.