African elephant in Swahili: tembo (Loxodonta africana)
Shoulder height: 2.3–3.4 m; weight: 6,000 kg. The world’s largest land animal, the African elephant is intelligent, social and often very entertaining to watch. Female elephants live in close-knit clans in which the eldest female plays matriarch over her sisters, daughters, and granddaughters. Mother–daughter bonds are strong and may last for up to 50 years. Males generally leave the family group at around 12 years to roam singly or form bachelor herds. Under normal circumstances, elephants will range widely in search of food and water, but when a concentrated population is forced to live in conservation areas, the damage they cause to trees can have a serious environmental impact. Elephants are widespread and common in habitats ranging from desert to rainforest and, despite heavily poaching, they are likely to be seen on a daily basis in most of Tanzania’s larger national parks.