From the African savannas to the Asian tropical forests, elephants are searching for food, sleeping, breeding all while leaving a huge impact on the environment. The elephant ecosystem affects every animal and plant around them! If elephants were to go extinct, it would affect the environment. That is why there are elephant sanctuaries designated to keep them safe from poachers and give them enough space to roam freely.
An elephant's diet
African elephants can grow up to 13 feet and weigh up to 10 tons. Asian elephants (an African elephant's cousin) are just a tad smaller by growing up to 12 feet and weighing up to 7 tons. Since both of these elephants are so enormous, they have to eat lots of food to stay healthy and energetic.
How much do they eat, you might ask? Well, they eat for 12 to 18 hours a day and consume 200-600 pounds of food! As you can tell, elephants need more than a side salad. These large mammals are herbivores, so they rely heavily on their environment to find their next meal. Elephants consume grasses, bushes, fruits and even trees!
Why do elephants knock down trees?
You’re probably wondering, where do elephants get so much food? Elephants get most of their food from bushes, grasses and trees. These massive animals tend to knock down trees to consume the leaves and bark from the trees. Since they are so large, they can stomp on the smallest trees or use their trunks to bring trees down.
When droughts occur, trees play an essential part in elephant’s diet. They knock down trees to get nutrients and even uproot them to consume their roots. By doing so, they’re getting the food they need but also allowing other smaller creatures get food that’s out of their reach.
Does cutting down trees harm the environment?
There has been a misconception that by elephants knocking down trees, it has a negative impact on the ecosystem. However, recent researchers have found that it’s not creating a problem. In fact, elephants are helping to develop biodiversity.
Elephants don’t just knock down the first tree that comes into their sight. Researchers have discovered that elephants tend to knock down trees where the soil is fertile, and water is available. By doing this, they’re helping seeds disperse and new trees to grow. They choose fertile areas where new trees can flourish.
These creatures are always traveling around the through forests and savannas to find their next meals or water. With all that traveling, they’re spreading seeds through their dung along the way. All those tree seeds that they consume in one location get transported into another where they can flourish. The elephant ecosystem is helping maintain biodiversity throughout their habitats.
How you can help elephants
Elephants need plenty of space to roam free and get food. If they were to lose their wild areas, it would be devastating. You can help keep an elephant ecosystem safe by helping sanctuaries. These are areas that are meant to help elephants stay safe from poachers and still keep their wild spaces to roam.
For Elephants is proud to be partnered with Elephants Alive. They’re an organization that ensures the survival of elephants and their habitats. They promote a harmonies co-existence between elephants and people. Plus, they use science-based information to provide the survival of elephants.
At For Elephants, we’re honored to have a research laboratory at the Elephants Alive headquarters in South AFrica where we can contribute to research to improve the lives of wild and captive African elephants. To help out, you can donate to help continue our research and share it with other organizations, like Elephants Alive.