As many of you who religiously follow this blog know, the inspiration behind all that I do now for wildlife, other than my 4-year-old incandescent introduction to The Lion King, is due to a baby elephant who touched my heart. I’ve been working with elephants since I was 16, and some have even described the elephant as my spirit animal. That said, let’s talk about why elephants are so fantastically cool.
To understand what they are now, we must understand their past. Thus it should be understood that elephants, all of which are part of the family Elephantidae are the only ones under the taxonomic order of Probiscidea, as all other family orders of Probiscidea are extinct. Most died during the end of the Glacial Period, including the recently extinct gomphotheres of Central and South America, the mastodons of North America, stegodonts of Asia, the infamous mammoths, and several dwarf elephants found on Mediterranean islands (i.e. Cyprus, Crete, Sicily, Malta, Cyclades Islands, and Docdecanese Islands) and even the Channel Islands of California. (more…)