I was thinking of what to post on my blog to kick start its inaugural edition when it suddenly came into my mind that i should start it out with posting wildlife images of the BORNEAN PYGMY ELEPHANTS. For me personally, the pygmy elephants are a real joy to observed in the wild and i can definetely sit or even hide for hours just to observe and photographed them in thier natural behaviour. The best moment for me will be when you see these elephants going down to the river to swim and cool off. It is just simply amazing!
A big herd of pygmy elephant having a SPLASH in the river.
The Bornean Pygmy Elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis) is the smallest of all Elephant species in the world. But don't get fool by its name though, as the pygmy elephants are by no means small. They are GIANTS indeed. An adult male pygmy elephant can grow up to about 2.5 metres high while females to about 2.0 metres in height. In a day this giants can eat up to 150 kg of vegetation, feeding mostly on a wide variety of palms, grasses, tree bark, roots, leaves and wild bananas. Studies have shown that the elephants diet consists of at least 162 species of plants (in 49 families), including several dipterocarp tree species. This giants also require up to about 200 litres of water to drink in a day and needs supplementary minerals, which they will obtain from natural salt licks.
Pygmy elephants feeding on the elephant grasses (Saccharum spontaneum)
The Borneo Pygmy Elephants has just recently been classified as a subspecies of the Asian Elephants. Its nearest of cousins are the Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatrensis) found in Sumatra, Western Indonesia, the Indian Elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) found in South Asia with distributions in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Western Myanmar and also the Sri Lankan Elephants (Elephas maximus maximus) found in the South west of Sri Lanka. The pygmy elephants are only found in the island of Borneo but in restricted ranges on the Northeastern part of the island. The highest concentration of these elephants are in the pockets of tropical lowland rainforest of Eastern and Southeastern Sabah and the Northern part of Kalimantan Indonesia. Estimates are around 1200-1500 in the wild but their numbers could be much lower than this.
Pygmy elephants traveling on their ancient migratory route.
The origins of the Pygmy Elephants has always been debated by scientist all around the world. Until recently the pygmy elephants of Borneo were believed to be a remnant population of a domesticated herd (suspected as the now already extinct Javan elephants) abandoned on the island by the Sultan of Sulu in the 17th century. But a 2003 DNA analysis carried out by WWF, Columbia University, Sabah Wildlife Department and Local Researchers proved that the pygmy elephants are genetically distinct from other Asian elephants, thereby recognizing it as a likely new subspecies and emphasizing its conservation priority. According to the DNA evidence, these elephants were isolated about 300,000 years ago from their cousins on mainland Asia and Sumatra. These subspecies currently living in Borneo possibly became isolated from other Asian elephant populations when land bridges that linked Borneo with the other Sunda Island and the mainland disappeared after the Last Glacial Maximum. Isolation may be the reason that these elephants has evolved to become smaller, more rounder with relatively larger ears, longer tails, and straighter tusks. The evolutionary history of Borneo's elephants justifies their recognition as a separate evolutionary significant unit (ESU).
The pygmy elephants migration.
In July 2005, five pygmy elephants were darted and outfitted with satellite collars by the Sabah Wildlife Department with WWF assistance, after tracking the elephants on foot through the dense jungle proved to be too difficult over long periods. Satellite data revealed that the remaining herds of Borneo elephants prefer jungles on flat lowlands and in river valleys, the same areas preferred by loggers and for oil palm plantations. Human activity has pushed elephants to unsuitable swamp areas and restricted their ranges to narrow corridors. Over the last four decades, about 40% of the forest cover in Sabah has been lost to logging, plantations and human settlements. sent GPS locations to a WWF computer via satellite as often as once a day. This was the first long-term study done on the Bornean Pygmy Elephants.
A herd of pygmy elephants.
A young pygmy elephant suckling its mum.
Just cooling off.
Pygmy elephants are "HEAVY DRINKERS."
Pygmy elephants are BIG WILD animals so always keep a safe distance!