History of Elephants

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Elephants Past

Elephants were first captured and tamed in the Indus Valley around 4000 BC. As early as 1400 BC their enormous size and power was harnessed on the battlefield and recorded in Thai history. Porus, Emperor of India, used 85 elephants to confront Alexander the Great at the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BC. Hannibal went through Spain, France and across the Alps with 34 African elephants in 218 BC, although most of them died. And elephants fought for the Khmer Empire in Cambodia between 800 and 1600 AD. The Belgian King Leopold II, captured and trained African elephants in the late eighteen hundreds. The strength and intelligence of elephants has also been used by people in huge construction projects and has shown positive results. For example, the extensive and complicated irrigation system on Sri Lanka was built up with the assistance of elephants. And before the development of machines, elephants played an huge role in logging and other lifting and transportation tasks.

Elephant Facts

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Elephants Ancestors

Thousand of years ago walked an elephant like creature called the Woolly Mammoth. We know this from fossils, bones and remains trapped in ice, but is sadly now gone. They died off around 10,500 years ago but one group managed to hand on for about another 5,000 years but died from thirst durring the ice age. Modern elephants and woolly mammoths share a common ancestor that lived about 6 million years ago. Exactly how and when the species split over time hasn't been confirmed, but researchers are now using modern techniques to put the pieces together on the ancient elephant's history. Using DNA the found out that Asian Elephants are slightly more related to mammoths than African elephants splitting 440,000 years after African Elephants split.

Types of elephants Related to
Asian Elephants Manatees
African Elephants Rock Hyraxes
Sri Lanken Elephant Woolly Mammoths
Borneo Elephants
Cyprus Dwarf Elephant

Elephants Today

Habitat loss is one of the big threats facing elephants. Many climate changing projects indicate that key portions of elephants habitat will become significantly hotter and drier, resulting in less water for them, food they eat and threatening calf survival. Increasing conflict with human populations taking over more and more elephant habitat and poaching for ivory are adding on as threats that are placing the elephant’s future at risk and close to extinction. Elephants are now endangered and we must do what we can to protect their survival since we helped in their downfall.