ELEPHANT –A KEYSTONE SPECIES1. Types of elephant2. Elephant’s impact on ecology3. Threats to elephants
ELEPHANTS• A very large mammal of theorder Proboscides, having a trunk, and twolarge ivory tusks jutting from theupper jaw(incisors).Three species of elephant1. The African bush elephant2. The African forest elephant3. The Asian elephant
TYPES OF ELEPHANTSTHE ASIAN ELEPHANTElephas maximus• enormous domed headwith relatively small ears.• Only one trunk finger.• five toes on the front feetand four on the back.• males have tusks and thefemales have tushes• More body hairs.• gestation period iseighteen to twenty-twomonths.THE AFRICAN ELEPHANTLoxodonta africana• have a straight back,enormous ears.• two trunk fingers.• four toes on the front feetand three on the back.• Both male and femalehave tusks.• Less body hairs.• Gestation period istwenty to twenty-threemonths.
ELEPHANT’S IMPACT ON ECOLOGY• Elephants play a vital role in theecosystem they inhabit.• The Ecological Impact of theElephant is Priceless.• Have both positive and negativeeffects on other specie.• Elephants make paths, that areused by other animals andhumans and eventually even beenconverted to roads.• Their paths act as firebreaks andrain water conduits.
ELEPHANT’S IMPACT ON ECOLOGY• Elephants act as seed dispersersby their faecal matter.• Dung beetles and termites botheat elephant faeces.• Modify their habitat byconverting savannah andwoodlands to grasslands.• Elephants can provide water forother species by digging waterholes in riverbeds.
THREATS TO ELEPHANTS1. HUNTING2. HABITAT LOSS HUNTING• Ivory trade is unique to thespecies.• Larger, long-lived, slow-breedinganimals, like the elephant, aremore susceptible to overhuntingthan other animals.• Decrease in male to female ratio.
HABITAT LOSS• Elephants need massive tracts ofland.(140kg-food)• Cultivation and constructions ontheir corridor.• Quickly destroying all the vegetationin an area, eliminating all theirresources.• Human elephant conflicts• Conflicts kill an average of 150elephants per year.20th century, elephants numberedbetween 5 and 10 million, buthunting and habitat destruction hadreduced their numbers to 400,000 to500,000 by the end of the century.