🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Africa's Wonder

"Africa's Wonder - Elephant" - watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 9" - Maree©

Africa's wild animals are a constant source of inspiration and for me elephants symbolise Strength, Solitude, sense of loyalty to the family and Intelligence. Looking into the eye of an elephant, one sees Wisdom beyond our understanding.

I sketched this young elephant on a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary at Hartebeespoort Dam where they provide a “halfway house” for young African elephants in need of a temporary home.

Elephants might be the most well-known and well-loved animal in the line-up of African wildlife. But conservation of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) poses special challenges. While the overall elephant population is half of what it was 40 years ago, some regions of Africa have more elephants than populated areas can support.

African elephants are bigger than Asian Elephants. Males stand 3.6 m (12 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh 5,400 kg (12,000 lb), while females stand 3 m (9.8 ft) and weigh between 3,600 and 4,600 kg (7,900 and 10,000 lb). However, males can get as big as 6,800 kg (15,000 lb!).

Years ago, over-hunting and the ivory trade were the biggest threats to elephants’ survival. Fortunately, ivory bans, hunting regulations, and protected areas safeguard elephants from these pressures today.

The 21st century brings an entirely different challenge to elephant conservation – land-use. Elephants roam over vast territories – across borders and outside parks and other protected areas. Unfortunately, elephants often range directly through human settlements and crops, causing discord between local farmers and these big mammals.

Successful conservation strategies must allow elephants to range freely in their natural habitats while reducing crop-raiding and other conflicts between elephants and local people and encourage peaceful co-existence.

Some interesting info :
Elephants have four molars; each weighs about 5 kg (11 lb) and measures about 30 cm (12 in) long. As the front pair wears down and drops out in pieces, the back pair shifts forward and two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth. Elephants replace their teeth six times. At about 40 to 60 years of age the elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, a common cause of death.


  1. Wonderful artwork. I have a special fondness for
    African elephants - my 2-1/2 year old son LOVES them and has for over a year. He has a favorite video on elephants and we have learned a lot. You really captured their strength and energy in this picture - as you know, often they look so docile and almost lazy.

  2. oh, and I wondered if you painted this first with a sketch on the watercolor paper?

  3. thanks for your wonderfully inspirational comment Margaret! And yes, I did sketch him first and applied the basic colours, then finished off the detail when I got home. They are the most wonderful souls on our planet! And it's so great that your son has such an affinity with them! Kindred souls!



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