African elephants, the largest land mammal on earth, are the symbol of the continent. Known for their intelligence, complex communication and close family units, these powerful giants are also the engineers that maintain many of Africa’s diverse habitats. Many forests in central Africa depend on elephants for seed dispersal and to create open spaces through which seedlings can grow, these are forests that sequester carbon and release water and oxygen, therefore playing a key role in global climate control. Elephants are a keystone species on which many plants and animals depend. They are found both in forests; and savannahs, where they sometimes gathering in their thousands to feed and drink.
Living alongside these animals has always been a challenge for humans, but in recent memory conflict has been increasingly rife. Man has long killed elephants for their ivory, persecuted them for raiding crops and removed them from the wild to brutally train them to work for us and perform for our entertainment. However, alongside this troubled relationship, in recent years they have attracted tourists from around the world. Their highly developed social structure, behaviour and beauty make them a wonder to behold in their natural habitat.
The understanding and protection of elephants is not only important for their continued survival but also for the survival of their habitats, thereby directly affecting entire ecosystems and indirectly affecting the communities living around them and indeed around the world.
Part of the Elephant Campaign