Elephants can grow to four metres tall, and they’re the largest land animals known today.
They’re also extremely smart, which isn’t surprising, since they have the biggest brain compared to any land animal.
Elephants are remarkably similar to humans in a number of ways. They live in close-knit family groups of up to ten individuals, demonstrate impressive problem-solving abilities, and even seem to be self-aware.
Elephants have been poached for their tusks, or used as working animals. Today, regulations are in place to ensure human interaction with elephants remains responsible. But, elephants are still under threat.
The development of farms and living spaces affects elephants’ well-being, since they need a large roaming territory. They eat massive quantities of grasses and leaves each day and pull up trees in search of water, which they detect with their impressively keen sense of smell.
In this way, elephants help shape their natural habitat by clearing pathways for other animals to move through easily, and add to the survival of other animals by dispersing seeds and creating new water sources.
However, when elephants are restricted to a space that’s too small for them, they can have too big an impact on the environment and cause deforestation.
Well-meaning, but uninformed, international visitors can also inadvertently support practices that help unscrupulous operators harm elephants. Learning more about elephant species and ethical elephant volunteering practices are the first steps you can take towards contributing to the conservation of elephant populations.
If you’re ready to make a bigger commitment, you can also take a look at our elephant focused volunteer programs in South Africa and Northern Thailand.
Until then, learn more about elephants by completing our Elephant Facts quiz. Be sure to share your new knowledge with family and friends afterwards.
Sign up for one of our in-country volunteer projects or internships with elephants and build on your elephant knowledge in a real-life setting.