There are many types of animals found around the world. Some are very big and some very small. The elephant is the largest animal living today and the strongest too. It has thick legs, huges sides and back, large hanging ears, small tail, little eyes, long white tusks and above all long nose called trunk. The trunk is the elephant’s peculiar feature, and it puts it to various uses. It draws up water by it and can squirt it all over its body like a shower bath; picks leaves from the trees and puts them into mouth. Elephants look very clumsy and heavy.
Elephants are found in India and Africa. The African elephant differs in some respects from the Indian; it is larger, stronger, with longer tusks and bigger ears. In fact the two are considered to be of different species. In both the countries, they live in herds in jungles and are shy and keep away from men. The elephant is a very intelligent animal and its intelligence and strength makes it a very useful servant of man. It can be trained; to serve in various ways. The trained elephant will kneel down, lift a heavy log of wood with its tusks, carry it to the place where it is wanted and lay it exactly in position.
Elephants are also trained for tiger-hunting. The hunter sits in the ‘howdah’ on the back of the elephant, which is driven and guided by the driver, ‘mahawat’.
In olden days, elephants were used in battles and armies had their regiments of trained fighter elephants. They still have their places in state processions.
Many elephants are caught alive to be tamed and trained. But catching elephants alive is a difficult and dangerous work; for, though the elephant is a shy, wild animal when left alone, it can be a dangerous enemy when attacked. Elephants are very useful for men and his work. At a few places elephants are hunted mainly for their tusks, which are made of ivory and are very valuable. Law does not permit hunting of elephants. We should protect them to keep a balanced environment.