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The Wildlife Of Africa

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The Wildlife Of Africa

Africa
The Wildlife Of Africa

Africa’s wildlife is considered one of the most diverse on the planet. There are numerous species that are native only to Africa, many of which are easily recognizable. Some of the iconic species include African elephants, African lions, mountain gorillas, and giraffes.

The African elephant is the largest land mammal on Earth (even larger than their Asian elephant counterparts) weighing in at 5,000 to 14,000 pounds and standing up to 15 feet in height [1]. The African elephant has exceptional strength and vitality, which one could assume by looking at the magnificent creature. The animal’s iconic large tusks, which can be as long as three meters in length, allow the creature to easily defend itself, fight another male for dominance, and to clear its path [2]. While this majestic animal was once highly sought out for its ivory tusks, an international ban on ivory trade has been a beacon of hope that one day the population will once again be free from endangerment [3].





The “King of the Jungle”, one of Africa’s most recognizable and iconic creatures, the African Lion, stands as an image of courage and fierceness. The symbol of the lion’s “royalty” often stems from the fierce mane which only the male lion’s sport and the mighty roar that can be heard an incredible five miles away [4]. Amazingly, however, it is normally the female lions (lionesses) which do the hunting, who prey on zebras, wildebeests, and other grassland animals [5]. Being the only cats that live in a group (a pride), the lions work together harmoniously; the males protect the females from intruders while the females feed the group [4].





The mountain gorilla, a very sturdy animal, lives primarily in secluded areas of the African forests, untouched by man [6]. These noble creatures have greatly depleted in numbers, having only 786 known to exist today [7]. Despite their ferocious look that they exemplify, the life of a gorilla is often more calm than some might expect. Living in large families (up to an astounding thirty members), the gorillas live in a rather close-knit group, rarely stirring up any trouble unless threatened [8].

One of the most unusual looking animals on Earth, the giraffe, stands as one of the most iconic animals in Africa. Its long neck, knobby horns, and color patterns make it a truly unique specimen. The giraffe may grow anywhere between fourteen to nineteen feet in height, giving them the title of the world’s tallest mammal [9]. The symbolic neck of the creature has given it a great advantage over other species. Being able to reach the very top of trees, the giraffe doesn’t have to look far to find a meal, unlike its much shorter grassland brethren, who scour the grasses for a bite to eat [10]. Although this towering creature weighs in at around 1750lbs – 2800lbs, it can run at an amazing 35 mph [9].

It is easy to see why Africa is world renown for its many types of animals. From lions to giraffes, Africa offers a wide array of spectacular creatures to forever mesmerize the world over.

Works Cited

1 "African Elephant." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/african-elephant/

2 "Elephant Facts." Elephant Facts. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://www.elephant-facts.com/elephant-tusk-and-theeths/

3 "African Elephants." Smithsonian: National Zoological Park. 2002. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/AfricanSavanna/fact-afelephant.cfm

4 "African Lion Facts." Defenders of Wildlife. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/lion.php

5 "African Lion." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/african-lion/

6 "Mountain Gorilla." AWF. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://www.awf.org/content/wildlife/detail/mountaingorilla

7 "Mountain Gorilla." WWF. World Wildlife Fund, 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/mountaingorilla/mountaingorillas.html

8 Janssen, Paul. "Mountain Gorilla Facts." Out to Africa. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. http://www.outtoafrica.nl/animals/enggorilla.html?zenden=2

9 "Giraffe." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 2012. Web. 16 Mar. 2012. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/giraffe/

10 "Giraffe." Giraffes. Web. 16 Mar. 2012. http://www.giraffes.org/index.html










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