Each life on this planet is born for a reason. Whether it’s an animal, insect, bird, flower or plant, biodiversity helps us all support and nurture one another. With rapid poaching, random killing and habitat loss, many species are already extinct. The elephant faces an equal threat for the same reasons. There are about 500,000 elephants left in Africa. In Asia, the numbers are just 45,000 of the gentle creatures left.
Elephants are considered a “keystone species” that have a large impact on the environment around us. It’s time to open your eyes and appreciate the huge impact they have on our ecology.
Elephants Role on the Environment
The elephant’s natural habitat is located in the dense forests of Asia and Africa. In many parts of these regions, the elephant is worshipped as a divine creature. In others, they are hunted down mercilessly for their tusks for illegal ivory trade. They are killed for trampling down plants and creating havoc on farmlands, often forgetting the reasons why the wander into these territories in the first place - loss of habitat.
With increasing deforestation, elephants are forced to look for food on land inhabited by humans. Currently, Africa and Asia are on the verge of losing their most valuable mammal to wildlife trafficking.
5 Ways Elephants Help Our Ecosystem
What makes elephants so valuable for the environment? Here are some of the reasons:
The elephant is the horticulturist of our ecosystem. Elephant droppings fertilize the soil with rich nutrients. The manure replenishes the soil, allowing crops to grow healthily. Birds, baboons, and monkeys pick through the dung for seeds and nuts. Some of the seeds from the droppings are dispersed into the soil, creating high plant diversity. Elephants are known to disperse seeds as far as 57 km colonizing new areas for other animals to inhabit.
Elephants create watering holes by digging deep with their heavy legs and trunks in dry river beds in an effort to access underground water. The muddy pools are an important source of drinking water for smaller animals who don’t have the strength to bore through the dry river beds.
Elephants pull down trees and thorny bushes creating fodder and habitat to make life easier for other smaller animals. The clearings allow more sunlight to seep through the dense forests and reach the floor, letting smaller saplings to grow. The alternative plant growth, in turn, creates new wildlife, making the ecosystem richer.
Elephant Dung Recycling
Elephants are known to consume enormous amounts of food (up to 200-250 kilos) every day, producing enormous amounts of nutrient-rich dung (about 50 kilos). Enterprising humans have put it to good use, making mild painkillers and mosquito repellents that drive insects away upon burning.
Elephant Dung Paper
Perhaps the most ingenious use of elephant dung by humans is recycling it to make paper. An elephant digests only 45% of what it consumes. Since the diet is herb-rich, the undigested food is excreted out as intact fibres that are made into pulp to make paper products. Each elephant has the capability to produce about 115 sheets of paper every day.
Aliya Dung Paper: Giving Back to Support Elephants
Aliya Dung Paper and paper products are made by a fair-trade paper factory in Sri Lanka called Eco Maximus, and sold to countries such as Canada. Our goal is to provide quality alternatives to recycled paper while giving back. A portion of our sales is donated back to MEF to help elephants survive and thrive in their natural environment. Help support elephants by supporting our paper products!
All credit goes to Aliya Dung Paper