Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sri Lankan Elephant

True Wild Life | Sri Lankan Elephant | The Sri Lankan elephant is a sub-species of Asian elephant which includes the Indian elephant, the Sumatran elephant, the Sri-Lanka elephant and the Borneo elephant. The Sri Lankan elephant is the largest of all the Asian elephant sub-species and is thought to be most closely related to the Indian elephant. As its name suggests, the Sri Lankan elephant is found on the Island of Sri Lanka and is thought to have arrived there from southern India. Despite once roaming the Island, the Sri Lankan elephant is now restricted to just a few designated National parks as the Sri Lankan elephants natural habitat gets turned into crop fields.

The Sri Lankan elephant has smaller ears than the African elephant and the Sri Lankan elephant also has a more curved spine than the African elephant. Unlike the African elephants, the female Sri Lankan elephants very rarely have tusks, and if the female Sri Lankan elephant does have tusks, they are generally barely visible and can only be seen when the female Sri Lankan elephant opens her mouth. The Sri Lankan elephant follows strict migration routes that are determined by the monsoon season. The eldest elephant of the Sri Lankan elephant herd is responsible for remembering the migration route of its Sri Lankan elephant herd. This Sri Lankan elephant migration generally takes place between the wet and dry seasons and problems arose when farms where built along the migratory routes of the Sri Lankan elephant herds, as the Sri Lankan elephants caused a great deal of destruction to the newly founded farmland.

Sri Lankan elephants are herbivorous animals meaning that they only eat plants and plant matter in order to gain all of the nutrients that they need to survive. Sri Lankan elephants eat a wide variety of vegetation including grasses, leaves, shoots, barks, fruits, nuts and seeds. Sri Lankan elephants often use their long trunk to assist them in gathering food. Due to their large size, Sri Lankan elephants have very few predators within their natural environment. Besides human hunters, tigers are the primary predator of the Sri Lankan elephant, although they tend to hunt the smaller Sri Lankan elephant calves rather than the much larger and stronger adults.

Female Sri Lankan elephants are generally able to breed by the time they are 10 years old, and give birth to a single Sri Lankan elephant calf after a 22 month gestation period. When the Sri Lankan elephant calf is first born, it weighs about 100 kg, and is cared for not only by it's mother by also by other female Sri Lankan elephants in the herd (known as aunties). The infant Sri Lankan elephant remains with its mother until it is around 5 years old and gains its independence, with males often leaving the herd and female calves staying. Today, the Sri Lankan elephant is considered to be an animal that is in immediate danger of becoming extinct due to the fact that Sri Lankan elephant populations have been declining at a critical rate. Sri Lankan elephants are thought to be suffering primarily due to habitat loss in the form of deforestation and hunting for their ivory tusks by human poachers.

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