The Basics of African Elephant Migration

When thinking about Africa, one of the first ideas that pops into our mind is a safari, many people tend to associate Africa with adventure-filled safaris and exotic animals. Nothing seems more exotic or African than the giant gentle elephants.  Although elephants are not only found in Africa, it has come to be one of Africa’s well known symbols as they roam over many African forests and deserts freely.  Elephants are known to live in groups or herds; they do almost everything in groups, one of the habits that Africa’s elephants are known for are their migratory travels. Here are some basics of the African elephant migration:

The group is usually led by the oldest female or the matriarch; she guides the group on where to go and what do and is constantly on guard for whenever a threat to the group’s safety is detected.  She sees to it that the little ones are kept well fed and safe and that the group remains intact.

African elephants are natural travelers. They love to travel with their group over large distances in search of a land where there is plenty of food. Elephants are herbivores and can live on chewing grass of the ground and leaves from the trees, but with the African weather or low rainfall, it means that plants don’t grow quickly enough where it can feed a family of elephants for very long without having to change location, thus the great African elephant migration.

Although migration is not a new thing for elephants, there can also be a time that unnatural circumstances may be the reason for an African elephant migration.  There are a lot of factors that could cause elephants to move to another location.  For starters, a lack of food due to human expansion may be a cause for elephants to seek safer and more peaceful lands; drought and fire are other reasons why a herd moves on.

Although thankfully to a lesser degree now the Ivory trade and human’s greed was also another reason for an African elephant migration to happen. It used to be that an elephant’s tusks were valuable, especially in the black market now it is illegal. There had been a time when almost two-thirds of Africa’s elephant population was wiped out due to massive poaching and it was only when the Big Ivory Fire was done that poachers started to think twice before doing any ivory harvesting.

The beauty of the African elephant migration is something that should be enjoyed; it should serve as an example of what we could miss if we keep on doing what we do to destroy mother earth.

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