The Life of Wild Elephants
Elephants are the largest land mammals living on the Earth today. They have no natural predators—other than man—and can live between 50 and 70 years. They need a large range of area in which to live, forage, travel, breed, and raise families, and the climates of Africa and Asia are perfect for these activities. Elephants naturally live in herds with clearly established and linear social orders. Males and females live distinctly different lives; females live out their existences in tightly knit groups with other females—usually mothers, daughter, aunts, and sisters—led by the matriarch, the eldest female. While female elephants live socially active lives, interacting with males on the borders of their groups, with females from other herds, as well as female members of other herds and populations they meet.
To contrast this starkly,
males live independent, solitary lives. As they grow, they spend more and
more time on the outskirts of the herd, eventually wandering away from the
group first for hours, then days, then weeks at a time. When he nears the
age of fourteen, he departs from the herd for good, and sets out to begin
his own life. While males encounter other males and form loose bachelor
herds, their interaction is usually aggressive but results in few
injuries, battling over breeding rights for choice females; it is the
older males who usually win these encounters, and the younger males must
continue to wait.
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