The number of elephants in Etosha park is around 2000. The most usual appearance is small family units and bull herds. A large herds are made up of small units, each unit consisting of a matriarch, several adult cows and offspring of different ages. Grown up young bulls are forced out of these units at the age of about 12-15 years and later they join bull herds. The tasks of elephants in Etosha which are actually two upper front teeth do not attain significant lengths mostly attributable to mineral deficiency. Another reason is that elephants use the tasks for digging up a roots and breaking the tips of tasks in process.
The Etosha elephants are regarded as tallest in Africa. To regulate the body temperature they often use stomach water spraying it over the body or using large ears as radiators continually flopping them. Elephants have only four molars in use at a time. As these are worn down they get replaced by new ones. Elephants can be destructive around waterholes and the surrounding areas can be severely damaged and deforested.
The diet of elephants consists of grass, bark of tree branches, leaves, roots and fruits. The average elephant eats approximately 230 kilograms of fodder per day and drinks up to 180 litres of water. One (very seldom two) calve is born after a 22-month gestation period. Elephant can weight up to 6000 kilograms and has a shoulder height up to 3 meters.
There are approximately 10 000 elephants in Namibia although they became almost extinct at the end of last century due to hunting and poaching. Most of the population of elephants occurs in the north-eastern parts of the country.At the conference of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) that has been held in Kenya recently the decision to delay ivory sales for the period of two years has been taken.
Desert-dwelling elephants in the north-western part of Namibia are special for several reasons. They are one group of only two known populations of desert-dwelling
elephants in the world. The other group is in Mali. They are uniquely adopted to extremely dry and sandy conditions – they have a smaller bodies and larger feet than other elephants. By the 1980′s most of 3000 elephants that lived in Namibia’s Kunene Region were killed by hunters and poachers. Because of measures that were taken to protect desert elephants their population is approximately 600 at the moment.
Their diet is varied and changes from wet to dry seasons. Most popular species include Commiphora, Mopane tree, Ana tree.
All potential visitors to areas where desert elephants can be found have to remember that these animals have poor eyesight but good hearing and smell. Elephants can also move very fast. The visitors must stay quiet in their vehicles, never chase elephants when they move away, view elephants from downwind side and allow a distance of 100 metres between them, never drive in the night, leave the area if animal appears to be nervous.