Tag Archives: African Elephant

World Elephant Day

The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness of the urgent plight of African and Asian elephants, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants. African elephants are listed as “Vulnerable” and Asian elephants as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.  One conservationist has stated that both African and Asian elephants face extinction within twelve years.  The current population estimates are about 400,000 for African elephants and 40,000 for Asian elephants, although it has been argued that these numbers are much too high.

The demand for ivory, which is highest in China, leads to the illegal poaching of both African and Asian elephants. For example, one of the world’s largest elephants, Satao, was recently killed for his iconic tusks.  Another iconic Kenyan elephant, Mountain Bull, was also killed by poachers, and with the street value for ivory now exceeding that of gold, African elephants face a poaching epidemic.  Elephants are also poached for meat, leather, and body parts, with the illegal wildlife trade putting elephants increasingly in danger, because it is perceived to be a low risk and high profit endeavour.

Elephant Facts:

– Elephants eat grasses, roots, fruit and bark. They use their tusks to pull the bark from trees and dig roots out of the ground.

– A group of elephants is called a herd. The herd is led by a matriarch, which is the oldest female. Females, as well as young and old elephants, stick together in a herd. Adult males tend to wander on their own.

– Male elephants are called bulls and females are called cows. After mating, the cow will be pregnant for around 22 months. When the baby elephant is finally born, it can weigh around 200 lbs. (91 kg) and stand about 3 feet (1 m) tall.

– The African elephant can be identified by its ears. Stretched out, its ears are shaped like the African continent. Asian elephants have smaller ears, which are more rounded on top and flat along the bottom. Heat radiates out of the elephant’s massive ears, acting as a cooling mechanism.

– An elephant’s skin can be as thick as 1 inch, but it is sensitive to the sun. To protect it, elephants will cover themselves in mud or dust.

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Sibuya Welcomes a Baby Elephant!

We were amazed and very surprised at the birth of an ELEPHANT CALF (Loxodonta Africana) in May, as we were definitely not expecting an addition to the herd!  A “teenage” birth! The elephants seemed to have “disappeared” for days and then suddenly reappeared briefly, proudly seemingly to display the latest addition! During brief sightings, the rangers were very confused as to who the mother was and even thought that there may be more than one calf because the Matriarch & sub-Matriarch were also lactating and were seen suckling a little one. Once the herd felt a little more secure about the new arrival, they appeared more frequently in areas in which they were clearly visible and it became obvious that all three females were sharing the feeding and caring for the new baby!

Hoping for more insight on this seemingly rather unusual behaviour, I contacted an expert… Dr Michelle Henley… a world authority working under Save the Elephant Foundation’s umbrella. She’s monitored elephants for more than 20 years. Following is her extremely interesting response: “Young cows often lack the experience to look after their calves. This is especially true if they weren’t afforded the opportunity to be “allo-mothers” while growing up. The older cows in the herd generally allow the younger females to learn all the ropes related to caring for the calves so that by the time they grow up and reach sexual maturity, they know exactly how to cope.” This young cow apparently seems to have missed out on this rather important part of her education so the older more experienced cows… most probably her mother and aunt… are being of invaluable assistance.


A reassuring touch

Many wonderful photographic opportunities have cropped up as the herd browses, plays in the water and revels in the mud… the calf enjoying showing off his antics to an appreciative gallery of guests.


Mud games are such fun!

Sibuya Game Reserve

Sibuya has recently started team-building & conferencing programmes for companies or conference groups.

If you are planning an African Safari, or want to stay at a Game Reserve in South Africa, or a Game Reserve near the Garden Route, or are looking for that perfect Game Reserve Wedding Venue, then why not visit Sibuya for that ultimate African Bush Experience! Sibuya is a Malaria Free Game Reserve