The dwarf elephant: photos, dimensions
Did you know that there is a dwarf elephant? Photos of elephants-pygmy just flooded the Internet. Fans of these cute animals already fantasize that this baby can keep as a pet in the apartment. Let's see if I can live dwarf elephant at home, what it eats, how it behaves in the wild.
The smallest on our planet, elephants live in Borneo. It is the third largest island in the world and largest in Asia. In its territory there are the borders of three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Almost the entire territory of Borneo is covered by dense Equatorial forests, there are areas that had not gone before. Perhaps the island and now there are species of animals and plants which modern biologists don't know anything.
The pygmy elephants of Borneo are only on a small part of the island belonging to Malaysia, the territory of Sabah. Sometimes you can find these amazing animals in Indonesia. The habitat of the elephants pygmy is associated with their food addictions.
The pygmy elephants of Borneo are fed various greens, herbs and luscious palm leaves, wild bananas, bark, nuts, various fruits, seeds. Also, these animals need minerals, which ensure their harmonious development. Elephants get the necessary minerals from salt licks and other limestone deposits that can be found on the banks of rivers.
What size are they
The smallest in the world elephants are a subspecies of the Asian. The dwarf elephant, a photo of which you can see in this article, lives in the North-Eastern part of the island. What are the features of appearance of these animals?
Many people wonder, how tall is a dwarf elephant. Its dimensions are not so miniature, as appears from the name of the subspecies. The growth of the adult elephant pygmy – 2-2,5 meters. Might weigh 2-3 tons.
For comparison, the sizes of closest relatives, the Asian elephants, which reach 3.5 meters in height, and can weigh up to 4.5 tons.
The largest in the history of the elephant belonging to the African mind, weighed more than 12 tons, and its growth reached almost four meters. As can be seen from the comparison, the elephant of Borneo really is a dwarf in comparison with his fellow, but still a large animal.
In addition to the modest size elephants, pygmies differ in some characteristic features of appearance. Their ears are larger than Asian elephants, the spine more curved. The tusks are short and straight. But the tails are long, almost touching the ground. There is another difference, which is so popular due to the dwarf elephant. Photo a illustration of a cute cartoon expression faces. Due to this feature of the dwarf elephant is simply impossible to confuse with other animal subspecies.
However, despite the cute appearance, the elephants of Borneo are the large wild animals. Known cases of attacks on humans, including fatalities.
Genetic theory of the origin
How did this rare elephant and how he got to the island of Borneo? Scientists can not give a precise answer to this question. There are two theories explaining the origin of the pygmy elephant of Borneo.
The first hypothesis is based on laboratory studies of the DNA of these animals. Analysis of the genome suggests to us that elephants live in isolation, and more than 300 thousand years have not met with their relatives, and thus are a separate subspecies.
Ancestors of pygmy elephants came to Borneo in the period of global cooling, approximately 18 thousand years ago. Presumably, they have passed by land the isthmus, which was later destroyed. Thus, all the elephants are descended from a single group, and changes in appearance and small differences from other Asian neighbors is the consequence of prolonged isolation.
This hypothesis is very plausible, but it cannot explain one interesting fact: in Borneo was not found archeological evidence of elephants living such a long period. The most ancient remains Dating from the 18th century.
The historical theory of the origin
Where, and most importantly, when in Borneo appeared a dwarf elephant? This explains the second hypothesis, according to which the ancestors of elephant island was donated to the local Sultan of Sulu ruler of Java. Thus, the inhabitants of Borneo are the descendants of Javan elephants thought to be extinct. It remains a mystery how some animals have been able for three hundred years to initiate extensive population.
The threat of existence
To date, the pygmy elephant is under threat of extinction. To rescue the rare animal goes a lot of effort. For a long time a small group of elephants hiding in the dense forests, with virtually no human contact.
However, as a result of ongoing deforestation and expanding agricultural land wild elephants are increasingly faced with people, leading to casualties on both sides. His role in the disappearance of rare species played and poachers who hunted for tusks. Also the young is constantly under attack from predators. Today the population numbers about 1500 individuals, and therefore, each animal's life is of great importance.
Borneo pygmy elephants are social animals. They live in groups with complex inter-family relationships. A family herd consists of the most senior and experienced females, her sisters, daughters, that is relatives of the head of the herd. In rare cases, they may join other females who are not blood relatives. Such a group can include from 3 to 25 individuals.
A group of females is sometimes combined with a group of males and lives by a single clan. All female elephants help each other in the upbringing of the cubs. More experienced mom shows young how to properly care for offspring. The survival rate of females increases significantly when supervised by several females.
Relationships in the group
As you know, elephants build strong social and emotional ties with members of his flock. Family values for them are very important. They can bring friendship and good relations across the life, mourn the loss of loved ones and pups. Elephants can return to the scene of the death of a member of the herd to grieve.
Touching looks like the herd coming to the watering hole. Little elephants grab his mother's tail with its trunk, so as not to lag behind, and the other female elephants surround the kids to protect from possible danger.
Despite warm relations and strong ties between members, the group may split. The reason for this is usually lack of food, water or conflict within the herd, involving the death of a leader. The herd living on the same territory, not in conflict, greet each other and can interact. If conditions are favorable, water and food in abundance, then the groups can unite.
Mature males are separated from the mother group and lead a solitary nomadic life. As they grow older (sexual maturity is reached in 12-15 years), males become more independent, begin to break away from the herd and wander alone. Over time, the male is completely excommunicated from his flock. It can extend the life of the loner or join a group of other males.
In the men's clan also have strict hierarchy. Mentor the adult and experienced males. The members of the herd stick together, but only one of them appears the female who was courting, he leaves his men's group at the time of the breeding season.
Own home of a dwarf elephant – the dream of many animal lovers. However, if you carefully read the article, you could understand that even the smallest in the world, elephants are huge animals weighing several tons.
What conditions would have to create if you have a dwarf elephant? A pet is a massive, and therefore eats a lot. Daily happy owner of the pet need to get at least 150 kilograms of a variety of green feed.
In their natural environment elephants are in constant motion. Accordingly, an aviary, they need just a huge. Also animal need a place to swim, take mud baths, RUB against trees, roll in the sand, walk on the grass. In the cold season it should be in the room.
Dwarf elephants are an amazing and very rare animals that can be found only in a small area of the island of Borneo. Their origin is not known, but they are separate subspecies and are scrutinized by scientists.