Elephants – The Ivory Bearer of Wisdom and Pride

Elephants - The Ivory Bearer of Wisdom and Pride

Description – Elephants

Elephants, after Jurassic and Holocene epoch, are the largest land mammal grazing the planet. Holding keys to unrivaled Intelligence, power, and social conduct, the giants amble in the wilderness of Africa and Asia. Inferable to climate and feeding habits, African giants are bigger than their Asian relatives. The symbol of wisdom inhabiting either continent is notable for their memory in seasonal migration. Path opted in search of thick vegetation and water bodies, is memorized and followed each year before the drought sets in. Each member holds responsibility in looking out for each other ensuring the herds well being from vicious predators and hidden threats.

Among Asian Elephants, only males tend to grow tusks. The canine augmentation symbolizes a unique status and pride for the tusk bearer. Tusks grow long and can land a lethal blow while defending territory and predators. The giants of Africa have broader ears with numerous capillaries embedded to eliminate excess body heat. The ears of Asian Elephants are marginally littler and have fewer capillaries owing to cooler habitats. Elephants have immense affinity in grazing areas rich in water bodies and are master swimmers. Healthy habits don’t restrict them from crossing rivers bearing incredible flows. They drink up to 50 gallons consistently and favor drenching themselves in marshes to get away from the scorching sun.

African Elephants further classified as Bush Elephants and Forest Elephants are distinct in their behavior. Forest Elephants are littler with better oval ears and straight pointed tusks. They exist in the smaller gathering of four to five and feed on branches, fruits, and leaves found in the jungle. Bush Elephants across savanna and woodlands survive on foliage, grass, twigs and have tusks projecting outward. It is evaluated that one among the big five of Africa grazes three-fourths of a day consuming 400 – 600 pounds of food. Each clan is led by adult females owing to bulls’ preference to amble solitary.

Mud Bath, a one of a kind behavior exhibited by the giants aid them to escape the heat and avoid parasites. The two finger-like arrangements at the tip of the proboscis of African Elephants unlike its Asian relatives make it easy for grabbing berries and fetching twigs. The keen sense of smell guides them to keep away from the vicious predators. The Lions of Africa are extreme giant hunters and posses a great threat to the clan. They target and isolate the calf from the herd and are successful at times. Many a time the elders form a protective wall guarding the calf. The wall cast turns an effective shield in protecting the young ones.  

The bulls, at a point of time every year showcases extreme rage and uproot whatever is in the vicinity. This rage knew as ‘musth’ is owing to the hormonal ascent of testosterone. The testosterone induces a firey behavior in bulls to win a possible mate by exhibiting strength. Many times in the wild the bulls fight to prove dominance. The gestation period of an African Elephant extent to 22 months and that of Asian elephants ranges from 18 – 22 months.   

Authors Perspective

The survival of elephants is under constant threat with humans as the opposition. The only threat to the elephant populace is humans. The increase in demand for ivory across international markets elicits illegal hunting. To add on, meat and skin to have its pricing listed across the market. With the expansion in the human populace, the woodland turns agrarian land raising clashes among either species. Poison darts, pesticides, and other human-introduced traps prove costly for the life of these species. Coexisting respecting each other’s boundaries could only be the possible solution to a balanced ecosystem.

Leopards – The Invincible Hunters of the Secretive Shadows

Leopard - The Invincible Hunter of the Secretive Shadows

Description – Leopards

Nature in her ways is tight-lipped of offering camouflage environments for both predators and its prey. Predator’s ability to blend well hand in hand with its climbing, sprinting, and nocturnal skills place them on top of the food chain. Leopards exhibit a highly secretive and shy character that makes it tough to track unlike other members of the feline family. They invade regions beyond its territory in search of new hunting grounds in the veil of night. Leopards have a territory imprinted as its hunting ground for survival and are well defended from gatecrashers other than during the mating season.   

Leopards are found in Central and Southern Asia, India, China, and Africa. With particular and much-characterized spot coating, each Leopard is novel. Inhabitants of lavish green wildernesses have a deeper yellow coat with dark spots contrasted to the ones residing in hills and valleys. The plumage difference in an adaptation skill by the climate and habitat of the geography. The males are larger than the females reaching 6 feet in length and weighing up to 30 kg. The tail is shorter than the body, it helps maintain balance while climbing and hunting.

Leopards are the only members of the cat family those capable of hunting from an elevation. They can leap from the tree top or a cliff. It uses freefall as a technique waiting patiently at the treetop or camouflage among the bushes and rocks to bring down the prey. They are termed invincibly attributable to their ability to hunt and vanish least expectedly.  On hunting, within no time the prey is hauled to the treetops or bushes to escape the scavengers. Many a time, the prey is robbed off by starving Hyenas and Wild dogs those trail the silent hunters for a free meal.

Leopards can have up to five cubs in a litter. In a litter, on average, two to three cubs are being observed on a broader scale. It is far-fetched that all cubs make it to adulthood. Cubs are under constant threat from Hyenas, Lions, and Wild dogs. Unlike other big cats, the mother brings up the cubs on her own. Leopards hide the cubs in bushes and fallen tree trunks to avoid predators. Mother Leopards keep the cubs in their vicinity and communicate via soft calls. The cubs are often shifted to a new den to confound the predators. It takes two months for the offspring to learn and begin climbing. Till then, the danger lurks around.

Authors Perspective

Leopards have built up a liking in living close to human settlements due to habitat loss. With habitat loss being one of the significant concerns, Leopards target cattle and pets as prey. Inferable from their mysterious nature, they are difficult to spot and continue sharing common grounds with humans. On the other hand, Leopards in the wild are being still hunted by poachers for their fur and teeth. In certain nations, the fur coat is worn and used for religious practices. Leopards’ populace has decreased over the years and protection is an absolute necessity.

Barn Owl – The Elegant & Silent Hunter of the Darker Skies

Barn Owl - The Silent Hunter of the Night

Barn Owl – Description

Nocturnality is a skill very few master for survival. Among the bird species, only a handful exhibits nocturnal behavior in precision hunting. Barn Owl, the nocturnal predator hunts with a keen sense of hearing, smell and vision.  The ability to skim in absolute silence makes it one of a kind. Barn’s are named on their extensive preference over residence in the wooden barns which today is on the verge of decline. Unlike other members of the owl family, Barn Owl can hunt in daylight and this behavior has been spotted across the globe.

Barn Owl’s habitat is not restricted to a particular region. Its reign extends beyond rural territories, deserts, forests, and wetlands to the urban areas. The unique ability of silent flight helps it adapt, hunt, and survive in diverse environments. The ability to fly silently is attributable to its compact body, larger wings with sharp edges, and oil-free feathers. Barn Owl’s wingspan ranging up to 44 inches with a minimal stroke generates sufficient momentum to glide with ease. The sharp feather edges effortlessly slice the air layers leaving no trace of its flight.

Heart-shaped facial disk streams and siphons the sounds to the supersensitive ears hidden within feathers. Ears hidden behind the facial disk are capable of picking up the slightest of murmurs from the prey. Long legs coated in feathers and claws are healthily contrasted to similar predators in the avian kingdom.  The downward-facing razor-sharp beak is a specialized weapon in killing and tearing the flesh with ease.

Barn Owl’s habitat is diverse but prefers closed premises as a haven. Camouflaging outdoors doesn’t blend well having white plumage with black, brown, and gray spots on wings. It continues to reside and nest in abandoned buildings, caves, towers, and tree hollows. Their selective behavior in choosing habitats has always been a topic for discussion. They have compassion in dwelling close to human settlement. Barn Owl’s diet includes arthropods, bats, and rodents those abundant in territories of human settlement.

Among Barn Owls, the females are larger than the males. During the nesting phase, the male imprints on a fine settling ground. The male defends it from other males attempting to take over until he wins a potential partner.  Unlike other birds, the owl nests are not made of twigs. A scrape is dug out and four to five eggs are laid. The eggs hatch after a month of incubation period and the young ones are fed taking turns by the parents.  The chicks mature within a year and fly off in search of new nesting grounds. Barn Owl’s lifespan is measured to be 4 years out in the wild and somewhat longer in captivity.

Authors Perspective

Over the centuries, owls are hunted owing to misbelieves and superstitions spread far and wide. They are assumed to be the bringer of darkness and presumed a bad omen. This myth paved way for a subsequent decline in the owl populace attributable to extensive hunting. The demolition of old buildings and likely habitat loss has considerably reduced the nesting grounds for Barn Owls. Several incidents of owl falling victim to fences, fishing lines, and nets have been accounted for the increasing threat to the species existence. Excessive use of pesticides and pest control mechanisms have made it even tougher for the silent hunters to find prey for their survival.