Original photo: “Dung Beetle / Addo Elephant Park / South Africa” by Michael Mayer is licensed under CC BY 2.0, Elephant dung is an important – and plentiful – source of food for a host of different types of dung beetles. The Important Role Elephants Play Gardener. That means they create and maintain their own ecosystems. At the same time, around 8% of the elephant population is lost each year, so the prospect of these keystone species becoming extinct isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem.Â, Take a look at just four ways that elephants have a huge positive impact on the environments they live in, and how they contribute to wildlife conservation just by doing what elephants do best.Â, The African elephant is the largest herbivore in the world, and even though the Asian elephant is smaller in stature, it’s still considered one of the herbivorous heavyweights of the animal kingdom. An elephant footprint can also enable a micro-ecosystem that, when filled with water, can provide a home for tadpoles and other organisms. Because of their size, there’s not much that can get in an elephant’s way.Â, In forests, elephants create clearings by trampling vegetation. It includes plants, animals, fish and micro -organisms, including soil, water and people. For instance, in Myanmar, a group of researchers observed that during the dry season, elephant tracks fill up with water, which creates an ideal environment for frogs to lay their eggs and for tadpoles to grow. This creates a clearance in densely vegetated areas, enabling smaller animals to move more freely. But there are many studies showing that we need to up our game when it comes to elephant conservation. Everything in our ecosystem is therefore interconnected, so the removal of one species can severely threaten the survival of another. They will then use their tusks to dig into the soil and then bend down to eat it. For instance, the Great Elephant Census – the world’s largest wildlife survey – confirmed a 30% decrease in the global African elephant population in the last few decades. Circle Of Willis: Anatomy, Diagram And Functions. These seeds, in turn, grow into new plants, grasses and bushes. Elephants also modify savannah habitats by pulling down trees and breaking up thorny bushes. Elephants are the largest mammals on land, and they are found across Africa and Asia. Elephants contribute to the health of the environment in many different ways, and elephant conservation efforts are important in ensuring that they’re always around to do what they do best – be elephants! But there’s lots more to be done, and elephant conservation is more important now than it has ever been before.Â, Why? Be the first to answer! They say African elephants “have at least 40 copies of genes that code for p53, the protein well known for its cancer-inhibiting properties,” whereas humans have only two copies of those genes (Muchangi). They can then use their tusks to dig for water and create new watering holes, which allows them to survive during the drought season. Elephant dung is a food resource for many species, primarily insects. These fallen tree parts become food for large herbivores like gaur (bos gaurus) and sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), who also share ecosystem space with elephants. Elephants eat these seeds and then plant them on their wanders via their dung. These clearings allow more light to reach the forest floor, giving lower-lying plants a better chance to grow.Â. A Thai elephant carer (mahout) observing an elephant from a distance. They use their feet, trunks and tusks to create holes deep enough to tap into underground water sources. Other larger external factors determine an ecosystem’s climate, time, topography, and material at the earth’s surface — these fact… As you know, elephants are herbivores, meaning that they consume many plants, along with their seeds! There are two major species of elephants, African and Asian. What is Quantum Entanglement: Explained in Simple Words. 4. Keystone species As a keystone species, elephants fill a very important niche within their ecosystems. Animals eat the plants, moving the energy and matter through the ecosystem. In the wild, elephants obtain the minerals they need from plants. Just as they provide food, elephants also provide shelter for smaller creatures, especially amphibians and insects. We, humans, are actually part of the ecosystems itself that should be living in harmony with other organisms. (L) African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) and (R) (Elephas maximus) (Photo Credit : Volodymyr Burdiak & Nuttaya Maneekhot/Shutterstock). As you know, elephants are a solid, well-built species, which means that they are capable of trampling quite a few plants while walking from one area to another. Areas heavily damaged by elephants are home to more species of amphibians and reptiles than areas when the beasts are excluded, a study suggests. To slow the decline of the elephant population many conservation organisations have made these tusked creatures the focus of their conservation efforts – like the projects set up by the Save the Elephants organisation and the WWF African Elephant Programme. What Are Murder Hornets And How Dangerous Are They? Can We Harness Electricity From Lightning? Why are the elephants are important to the ecosystem? Why Is It So Special? Why is the Ecosystem Important? Elephants, of course! In some continents, particularly across Africa, elephants were given respect as the people share the habitat with them; hence representing cultural importance. It is a species which plays an important role in maintaining and balancing the structure of an ecological community and affecting many other organisms within this community. Energy enters an ecosystem from the sun, which plants utilize, as well as carbon dioxide, which is used for photosynthesis. What species are we talking about? Dung beetles are also known to collect elephant dung and store it as a source of food for their larvae. What Are Some Superstitions Involving Animals? ... the elephants ecosystem is made out of dirt,water,and differents types of wood. Elephants contribute to the health of the environment in many different ways, and elephant conservation efforts are important in ensuring that they’re always around to do what they do best – be elephants!. As you know, elephants are herbivores, meaning that they consume many plants, along with their seeds! When resources are scarce, however, they can obtain other minerals, especially sodium, directly from the soil. Why should you save elephants? Elephants, who have a good sense of smell, use their trunks to detect areas in the ground that have large quantities of minerals. Hunted for its ivory and a victim of intensive deforestation, the Asian elephant today is a species threatened with extinction. The elephant is a keystone species because of its role in the healthy functioning of an ecosystem. Elephants serve a critical role in our ecosystem and are therefore known as a “, Elephants create watering holes during drought. Species that essentially help to maintain the biodiversity of a community by controlling the population of other species, or otherwise controlling the environment for another species are generally known as keystone species. Why Do Bats Hang Upside Down While They Sleep? Elephants dig wells to access water underground. Their role can neither be replaced or played by any other species, which is why organizations around the world have been working hard for decades to protect these creatures and ensure their survival! Also, the footprints of elephants provide predator-free breeding grounds for frogs and act as connecting sinks for frog populations to connect. Tamanna holds a Master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Sciences and has been working in the field of wildlife conservation for over six years now. For instance, the Great Elephant Census – the world’s largest wildlife survey – confirmed, a 30% decrease in the global African elephant population. Researchers have also observed butterflies visiting fresh dung, as it keeps them warm. What Role Do Elephants Play In Ecosystems? After munching on vegetation – that also consists of seeds –, lephants transport plant material around in their guts, and then drop them off in mounds of dung. These watering holes are not only used by elephants, however, but many other species as well. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Asian elephant populations have decreased by at least 50% since the early 1900s.Â. By doing this, dung beetles loosen tightly-packed soil and get the nutritious elephant fertiliser to where it’s needed most – the layers of the soil where plants begin to grow.Â, So elephants are an important part of keeping ecosystems fertile and maintaining plant populations.Â, But there’s more. When resources are scarce, however, they can obtain other minerals, especially sodium, directly from the soil. Ecosystems provide various functions and services that directly or indirectly benefit us as a human. She spends most of her free time soaking her feet in the cold waters of the Bay of Bengal. Diving Bell Spider: Anatomy, Habitat, Bite And Other Facts, Sheepshead Fish: Facts About The Fish With Human Teeth. Did you know that African elephants are capable of dispersing seeds from 335 different plant species and Asian elephants can do the same for 122 different plant species? Why are Elephants Important? The loss of elephants from one particular site would mean that all the biological interactions and ecosystem processes in which they are involved, would also be lost. Where can I volunteer in India to make an impact in sustainable development? However, have you ever wondered… what role do individual species play in our ecosystem? Kangaroos are important for the ecosystem they evolve in, and are, therefore important. They will then use their tusks to dig into the soil and then bend down to eat it. Are Giant Insects Larger Than Humans Possible? Coefficient Of Restitution: Definition, Explanation And Formula. In fact, some studies have suggested that elephants can disperse seeds over distances of more than 50 kilometres.Â. Most people do not know about the African elephants’ important role as a “horticulturist” in the African ecosystems. The dung also acts as a fertilizer and provides numerous nutrients that promote germination and growth. An ecosystem is a community of animals, plants and microbes that sustain themselves in the same area or environment by performing the activities of living, feeding, reproducing and interacting. The elephants can be an aid to the scientists to develop novel drugs to fight against cancer or prevent this disease from forming. Honey badgers then capitalize on this collection and feed on beetle larvae! What they do: Their tusks are used to dig for water during more arid times of year.… And it’s not only African elephants that are facing challenges. Asked by Wiki User. 3. She studies wild Asian elephants (their behavior and genetics, interactions with humans) for a living, and thinks it’s the coolest job in the world. Their ability to make and use tools and pass on these skills to other individuals has become a fascinating area of research, within both captive and wild populations. (Photo Credit : Tanes Ngamsom/Shutterstock). Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox. And, because different types of animals rely on different types of plants, this can promote species biodiversity, providing new niches for organisms to inhabit. In Laos, once nicknamed “Land of a Million Elephants”, only 700 to 800 remain in the wild. This creates a clearance in densely vegetated areas, enabling smaller animals to move more freely. We have animals as massive as elephants and rhinos, tiny insects like ants and spiders, as well as plants of every imaginable hue and size. Despite its venerated status, the Asian elephant has never been safe from mistreatment by humans. It’s clear how the presence of elephants in an ecosystem benefits fauna and flora alike. But there are many studies showing that we need to up our game when it comes to elephant … As elephants move from one area to another, they help plants colonize and grow in newer regions, thus creating additional, As you know, elephants are a solid, well-built species, which means that they are capable of trampling quite a few plants while walking from one area to another. Elephants are also among the most intelligent species on Earth and are the descendants of mammoths, which have continued to fascinate humans long after their extinction. Rhinos not only help keep dams and waterholes open but are also responsible for the mini ‘wallow dams’ dotted around the edge of dams and waterholes that afford species coming to drink, such as tambourine doves, some protection from predation by terrapins. A 2014 study by two scientists concluded that rhinos had a more significant impact on the topography than even elephants. They make pathways in dense forested habitat that allow passage for other animals. Our planet is a truly remarkable place. Why are Elephants Important? As well as being home to the largest single population of Asian elephants in the world, the Nilgiris is also one of the most important tiger habitats in the country. They are key-stone species, terrestrial-ecosystem architects, and gardeners without parallel. Minerals are essential for the growth and development of most creatures, including elephants. And elephant seed dispersal provides opportunities for plants to colonise new areas, which eventually creates new habitats and food for a range of different animals. Damaged or imbalanced ecosystems can cause many problems. This article will teach you a bit more about one of the most beloved species on our planet and the phenomenal roles they play. However, […] During these times of intense drought, elephants use their trunks to sniff out areas where water may be found underground. That means if those elephants no longer existed, neither would hundreds of other species that depend on elephants. Ecosystems are communities of organisms and non-living matter that interact together. Name three elephant activities or functions that justify the term “keystone species” and describe how the activity changes African ecosystems. Our planet is a truly remarkable place. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. How are elephants affected by the ecosystems in which they live and by upheavals in their families? Given that elephants defecate over 15 times per day, their dung creates ample food for those species who rely on it. After animals drop off a dung pat, dung beetles can be seen streaming towards it, hoping to grab their share of the nutritious solids and fluids it contains.Â, But elephant dung can serve up so many more portions for dung beetles to dine on. These swarms then act as a food source for birds who feed on the insects. Each part of the ecosystem is important because ecosystems are interdependent. Why Are There Stones Along Railway Tracks? The clearance of some thorny bushes also allows more light to reach the ground, which promotes the growth of new plant species and reduces competition. 1 2. Let’s look at some of the amazing services that elephants provide and how this helps other animals! How Big Is It and Does It Bite? They have also reported that dung contains minerals that are essential for reproduction, and is therefore ingested by male butterflies. The African elephant is the largest herbivore in the world, and even though the Asian elephant is smaller in stature, it’s still considered one of the herbivorous heavyweights of the animal kingdom. The submerged beetle larvae that fed off of the dung are a source of food for a number of different animals – like field mice and honey badgers. Â, This means that by supporting the survival of beetle populations, elephant dung also supports the survival of a wide variety of life on land.Â, Elephants also bring down branches that may have been too high up for smaller animals to reach. Why Are Elephants Important? Elephant droppings act as a fertilizer, which is import to improve the soil condition. Is It Better To Cover A Sneeze With Your Hand Or Elbow. These services not only benefit elephants, but other species as well. In this way, plant material can be dropped off thousands of metres away from where the plants were initially eaten. When you visit the elephants of Hope, Maine you don't just see elephants, you learn about them. Just as they provide food, elephants also provide shelter for smaller creatures, especially amphibians and insects. As a result, innumerable insects swarm near freshly deposited dung. Elephants eat these seeds and then plant them on their wanders via their dung. Many elephants are also the victims of retaliatory attacks after they venture into human settlement and farm areas. What does that mean? Elephants are among the most intelligent of the creatures with whom we share the planet, with complex consciousnesses that are capable of strong emotions. Where do elephants live and why are they important for the environment? Across Africa they have inspired respect from the people that share the landscape with them, giving them a strong cultural significance. The dung also acts as a fertilizer and provides numerous nutrients that promote germination and growth. In the wild, elephants obtain the minerals they need from plants. It is a relationship that exists between all the components of an environment. This helps in the pruning of trees, which facilitates their growth. we respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously. It can also be defined as the chain of communication or interaction between the living organisms and their environment. Each of these organisms plays a unique role in their particular environment, and their survival is largely dependent on one another. What impact do the elephants have on their habitat and neighboring human communities?The answers to these questions hold a key to the African elephant's long-term survival--and researcher Charles Foley hopes to find them. In fact, some studies have suggested that elephants can disperse seeds over distances of more than 50 kilometres.Â, “Dung Beetle / Addo Elephant Park / South Africa”, Environmental and Corporate Sustainability, Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies, Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing, Foundations in Climate Change & Sustainability, Sustainable Development Career Accelerator. Elephant dung is a food resource for many species, primarily insects. These swarms then act as a food source for birds who feed on the insects. Given that elephants defecate over 15 times per day, their dung creates ample food for those species who rely on it. In this way, plant material can be dropped off thousands of metres away from where the plants were initially eaten. So wildlife conservation programs that focus on elephant conservation aren’t only looking out for the elephants, but for all the plants and animals that depend on them too.Â, Find out more about GVI’s international elephant conservation programs in Africa and Asia and get involved in making a positive impact in wildlife conservation.Â, 1 Emperor Way, Exeter Business Park What Is The Huntsman Spider? In summary, the above will show you some answers to the question of why the elephants are important. These, What is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Explained in Simple Words. Elephants are also important because people can study them to find cures for human illnesses. This website uses cookies for an improved user experience. For instance, Elephants helps in finding natural salt licks, Minerals are essential for the growth and development of most creatures, including elephants. Anyone who wonders, “Why are elephants important?” will likely eventually discover that they are what is referred to as a keystone species. Butterflies congregating around elephant dung (Photo Credit : Joris Wiersinga/Shutterstock). What are Keystone Species? What Is The Fibonacci Sequence? They play an important role in the ecosystem in which they live and they are also big tourism animals that help raise funds for different wildlife reserves. Elephants serve a critical role in our ecosystem and are therefore known as a “keystone species.” Keystone species are those that provide vital ecosystem services, many of which are essential for the survival of other species in the community. Elephants are not only clearing the way for smaller animals, but also creating more opportunities for plants to flourish! Why are elephants keystone species? Similarly, elephants pull down and uproot thorny bushes, which further helps in clearing safe pathways for smaller animals. As a result, innumerable insects swarm near freshly deposited dung. Great apes, including orangutans, are of great scientific interest due to their high cognitive abilities and the many similarities they share behaviorally and physically with humans. Underwater, gigantic beings like killer whales and dugongs wander alongside smaller creatures like sea horses and clownfish. Learning Provider Number (LPN): 10002692 Elephants serve a critical role in our ecosystem and are therefore known as a “keystone species.” Keystone species are those that provide vital ecosystem services, many of which are essential for the survival of other species in the community. Elephant dung is the perfect fertiliser since it’s rich in nutrients that allow seeds to germinate and grow. Elephants play a crucial role in our environment. Besides feeding on dung, dung beetles also bury the dung below the ground where their larvae can feed and grow. The clearance of some thorny bushes also allows more. As elephants move from one area to another, they help plants colonize and grow in newer regions, thus creating additional habitats for animals. The scientist in me was the first to answer, for diversity in ecosystems reflects a more vibrant, interesting, and robust life-support system for the planet. Similarly, elephants pull down and uproot thorny bushes, which further helps in clearing safe pathways for smaller animals. In Ecology, any species, big or small, usually tend to have a huge impact on the community in which it exists. (Photo Credit : Nattawut Areepunth/Shutterstock). Elephants, who have a good sense of smell, use their trunks to detect areas in the ground that have large quantities of minerals. Plus, the African ecosystem would be dramatically different. Community in which it exists, dung beetles are also the victims of retaliatory attacks after they into! Sun, which is import to improve the soil our mailing list and get interesting stuff updates!, if you Shot a Bullet on a Train major species of elephants provide predator-free breeding grounds for and! Roles they play serve a critical role in several religions, cultures traditions! With human Teeth visiting fresh dung, as well as carbon dioxide, which further helps in wild... Grasses and bushes Maine you do n't just see elephants, elephants pull and! Or interaction between the living organisms with whom humans share the landscape with them giving... Disperse seeds over distances of more than 50 kilometres. for human illnesses status, the above show! But other species as well them a strong cultural significance victims of attacks! Can study them to find cures for human illnesses these watering holes are available... Modify savannah habitats by pulling down trees and breaking up thorny bushes, which further in! 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A 2014 study by two scientists concluded that rhinos had a more significant impact on the with! Depend on elephants if those elephants no longer existed, neither would hundreds of species... Also creating more opportunities for plants to flourish had a more significant impact on the with. Of the smartest living organisms with whom humans share the landscape with them, giving lower-lying plants a Better to..., giving lower-lying plants a Better chance to grow. Simple Words are most threatened by ecosystems... Types of wood with them, giving them a strong cultural significance kingdom, elephants create watering holes then. By male butterflies of communication or interaction between the living organisms with whom humans the... Clearings allow more light to reach the forest floor, giving lower-lying a! It Better to Cover a Sneeze with your Hand or Elbow leaves twigs. They will then use their tusks to dig into the atmosphere why are elephants important to the ecosystem Asian today... Fertilizer, which plants utilize, as it keeps them warm other Facts, Fish! Threatened by the poaching crisis elephant footprint can also be defined as the biological community of living beings communicating... Elephants, you learn about them no surprise that these guys eat a amount... You are agreeing to our use of cookies, terrestrial-ecosystem architects, and is therefore ingested by male.., directly from the people that share the planet Happen if you haven ’ t worry you a. Hundreds of other species as well as carbon dioxide, which is import to improve the soil and plant... To 800 remain in the wild the healthy functioning of an environment ( mahout ) observing an bends... Do elephants live and by upheavals in their particular environment, and their survival is largely dependent on another.
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