Jan 5

Like rabbits retreating into their burrows, heads began disappearing underneath desks in the ARKive office as I made a beeline for the next ARKive team mate to pick their favourite species. Will this week’s favourite species be another ferocious feline like it was for Rebecca Sennett, or something slightly more serpentine?

Laura Sutherland – ARKive Education Officer

Favourite Species: African elephant

Why? While I was at University I spent a summer volunteering on a conservation project based in Botswana. Much of our time was spent monitoring the local elephant population, which is where I developed a soft spot for this enormous mammal. Their social structure is based around the ties within family groups; each group is led by an old female known as the ‘matriarch’. They have an amazing capacity to communicate over vast distances using infrasound and are able to recognise other individuals from their vocalisations.

Favourite elephant image on ARKive:

Photo of an African elephant

African elephant calf flapping ears

The African elephant is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List, with threats such as hunting for their ivory tusks, which are actually modified incisors, and conflict with farmers due to habitat fragmentation, posing considerable risks to their continued survival.

See more pictures and videos of the African elephant.

  • Michiel Valk (January 6th, 2012 at 11:27 am):

    My personal favorite. if I really have to choose, is the European Badger. But in fact I love the entire Mustelidae family, with the badger and Eurasian otter chasing each others tails in circles. The only reason I’m choosing, at this moment, the badger is because I’v had the privilege to see young badgers play in the wild in their own habitat. I think that as soon as I see a wild otter play it might win the contest of being my favorite.