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Photographer's Note

Elephants are the largest land animals now living. At birth an elephant calf weighs 120 kilograms, but the largest elephant recorded weighed as much as 11,000kg. They typically live for 50 to 70 years.

There are basically two elephant types: African elephants are distinguished from Asian elephants in several ways, the most noticeable being their much larger ears. Also, the African elephant is typically larger than the Asian elephant and has a concave back. In Asian elephants, only males have tusks, but both males and females of African elephants have tusks and are usually less hairy than their Asian cousins.

Elephants live in a structured social order. The social lives of male and female elephants are very different. The females spend their entire lives in tightly knit family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts. These groups are led by the eldest female, or matriarch. Adult males, on the other hand, live mostly solitary lives.

Elephants make a number of sounds when communicating. They are famous for their trumpet calls, which are made when the animal blows through its nostrils. Trumpeting is usually made during excitement. Elephants can communicate over long distances by producing and receiving low-frequency sound (infrasound), a sub-sonic rumbling, which can travel in the air and through the ground much farther than higher frequencies. This sound can be felt by the sensitive skin of an elephant's feet and trunk, which pick up the resonant vibrations much as the flat skin on the head of a drum.

Elephants can have profound impacts on the ecosystems they occupy. Negative: By pulling down trees to eat leaves, breaking branches, and pulling out roots, they reduce woody cover, creating clearings in forests, converting forests to savannas, and converting savannas to grasslands. Positive: During the dry season, elephants use their tusks to dig into river beds to reach underground sources of water. These holes may then become essential sources of water for other species. Elephants make paths through their environment that are used by other animals.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant

I took this shot in Chobe National Park in Botswana. That was the biggest elephant herd I’ve seen so far, with more than 40 individuals.

Chobe National Park, in northwest Botswana, has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. By size, it is the third largest park of the country, after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park, and is the most diverse. It is also the country's first national park.

Increased saturation, applied gradual toning.

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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