Special Report

20 Reasons We Really Need Elephants

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16. Big brains

Elephants have a big brain; it weighs about 12 pounds and they use it well. Elephants use tools, show empathy, and are self-aware.

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17. Respecting their elders

Humans can learn a lot from how elephants take care of their elders. Older elephants tend to lose their last set of molars, making chewing difficult, so younger elephants chew food for them so they can eat.

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18. Important to African culture

In African culture, elephants are seen as wise leaders who settle disputes among other animals. Some people believe elephants were human leaders from a past life. Jewelry made out of elephant hair is believed to ward off evil spirits.

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19. Biogas

With nations looking to switch from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly energy sources, places such as zoos and animal sanctuaries are converting elephant dung to biogas. These institutions are using waste products of herbivores to generate gas for stoves, heat and electricity.

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20. Their demise is fatal to tourism

The loss of elephants would have dire consequences for tourism in Africa. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust published a study that said an elephant living to its full 60 to 70 years of life would be worth 76 times more than the tusks that poachers kill the mammoth mammals for.