Elephants and Global Warming
Elephants and Climate change
Elephants have definitely been affected by global warming in a variety of ways. These animals rely upon plenty of plants and fruits in their natural habitat to be able to survive on. When the temperatures soar it can be very difficult for these plants and trees to grow like they should. As a result there can end up being a shortage of food in the area for the elephants to consume. Since they need from 300 to 600 pounds of food every day there has to be plenty of great vegetation out there if they are going to be able to survive.
Elephants also need lots of water, both to drink and to bathe in. When that isn’t in place they can become very ill. Global warming can result in the water supplies out there drying up. We have to remember that there are many other animals in the areas that share access to those areas of water as well. While elephants can use their tusks to dig for water under ground, they will have to dig further and further to find it due to global warming. This can result in their tusks being damaged or broken off.
The water is also needed to help keep the elephants cool. Even though they have thick skin, it is very sensitive. They can end up being sunburned if they aren’t careful. When water is limited they will toss either dry dirt or mud on their bodies to help cool them off. This can also serve as a type of sunscreen for their bodies as well.
While elephants don’t have a given mating seasons, they tend to take part in during the rainy parts of the year. When there is less rainfall due to global warming it can result in them mating less and less. With the number of elephants out there already at a very low number this is a problem. Toss in the fact that they carry their young for 22 months and you can see how getting their numbers to increase can be very difficult.
Many researchers believe that males periodically go into a period where they become aggressive. The changes to their environment can increase stress levels. As a result it can cause the males to have these cycles more often. It can also result in their behaviors during them being more intense than in the past.
It is no secret that global warming has a profound effect on humans and all animals including elephants. These animals are already struggling for their survival and this is one more problem that they can’t overcome on their own. Humans are responsible for global warming and so they should take responsibility for changing it.
Sadly, we can’t undo a great deal of the damage that has already been done. However, we can do our best to clean up the environment and to stop contributing to the problem. Go online to find out what you can do to change your contribution to global warming. If you aren’t part of the solution, then you are definitely part of the problem.
Charles Santiapillai, Peter Jackson. The Asian Elephant: An Action Plan for Its Conservation. IUCN, 1990.
Ed Couzens. Whales and Elephants in International Conservation Law and Politics: A Comparative Study. Routledge, 2013.