Elephant parental behavior

Title Info
Common name Elephant, African
Scientific name Loxodonta africana
Taxonomic group Elephantidae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Grasslands, savannas
Grasslands and savannas Tropical savanna
Change over time Life cycles
Behavior Social; Parental
Organisms Animals
Animals Mammals
Lessons Life Histories
Date August 09, 2003
Location Serengeti National Park,Tanzania,Africa

Elephant female and young, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Elephants form close-knit, long-lasting family groups consisting of adult females and young of both sexes. The tiny elephant under the large female is probably less than a year old and her baby. The other young elephant might be hers as well, or might be the offspring of another female in the group. Because females stay with their matriarchal clan, mothers and daughters may live together for several decades. African elephants have a gestation period of 22 months, their babies weigh approximately 120kg (~270lbs) at birth, and they may nurse their young for 4-5 years. Given this tremendous investment in each one of their offspring, elephant populations tend to grow very slowly. The African elephant is an archetypal example of a K-selected species, with this heavy investment in individual offspring and slow population growth.