African elephant or the savanna elephants are the largest living land mammals. They are the species of elephants belonging to the genus Loxodonta, which is one of the two genera of the family elephantidae. The legs are strong enough to hold the large body and the back is concave in shape. The trunk, an extension of the upper lip and nose, is used for communication, sound amplification, as a limb and handling objects including food. African elephants have 2 opposing extensions or lips at the end of the trunk (which it uses like hand), in contrast to the Asian elephant which only has one. It is believed that there existed 6 different varieties of African elephant, among them only two exists now (the African bush and forest elephants) and the other four are extinct.
Being the largest terrestrial animal on the planet, the males are 3.2-4.0 meter or 10-13 ft in height and 4.7-6 tonne in weight; whereas the females are smaller than the males measuring 7.2-8.5 ft in height and 2.1-3.2 tonne in weight. The tusks are the modified incisors that grow throughout the elephant’s life. These tusks weigh 23–45 kg and can be from 1.5–2.4 m or 5–8 ft long. They also have four numbers of molars each about 30 cm long and weighing 5 kg. The large ears help them to radiate excess heat. The African elephants can be seen in eastern, western and southern part of Africa, grazing in the dense forests and mopane woodlands.
The social structure of these elephants is found in herds, composed of females and their calves. The bush elephants are found in family containing 10 individuals but the forest elephants live in smaller family units. After puberty the male elephants form alliances with other males. The gestation period of a calf is about 2 years and adults are most fertile between the ages of 25-40. The average lifespan of these species is around 70 years. Due to the hunt for their priceless tusks, these elephants are being hunted from decades, and their number has declined over 90% of the total. That’s why their protection is a major concern in many countries.