African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth! Watch this video for an up-close look at these gentle giants.
Elephants live in matriarchies—communities made up of elephant mothers, sisters, and babies that work together to survive on the African savanna. These elephant matriarchies coordinate movement, care for one another, and mourn the deaths of family members.
African elephants are threatened by the ivory trade. Ivory is a luxury item used in such materials as piano keys, billiard balls, and carved decorations. Ivory is made from the tusks, or long teeth, of African elephants. Thousands of elephants are poached, or hunted illegally, every year.
Watch this video, from the National Geographic film Battle for the Elephants, and see if you can answer the questions in the “Questions” tab.
Soila, the naturalist in the video, says that elephants have excellent memories. How do you think elephants use their memories to survive in their environment?
Elephants live in matriarchal communities, made up of female members. According to the video, male elephants wander around on their own, or live in “looser communities.” What do you think makes male elephant communities different from elephant matriarchies?
The video says tusks are actually elephants' long incisor teeth. What are incisors? Can you think of other animals with tusks?
For Further Exploration
- SeaWorld: Elephants—Behavior
- Animal Fact Guide: African Elephant
- Elephant Neighbors Center: Elephant Facts Sheet
- National Geographic News: A Voice for Elephants: Elephants Communicate in Sophisticated Sign Language, Researchers Say
- National Geographic Animals: African Elephant
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry conservation Noun
management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.
Encyclopedic Entry: conservation coordinate Verb
to work together or organize for a specific goal.
hard, white substance that forms the teeth or tusks of some animals.
family, society, or community led by women.
to express sadness over a person's death.
to hunt, trap, or fish illegally.
type of tropical grassland with scattered trees.
very long tooth found in animals like elephants and walruses.