No More Elephant Back Rides

EVOLVING AND CHANGING WITH OUR ELEPHANTS – NO MORE ELEPHANT BACK RIDES In 2018, the Knysna Elephant Park celebrated 24 years of ‘Everything Elephant’! Our elephant herd had recently expanded and in line with these changes, it was important that the Park evolved alongside our herd – allowing us to make upgrades to elephant welfare and […]

Music for Elephants

Music for Elephants If you spent time at the Park or with AERU over the winters of 2015 or 2017, you’ll probably remember our student projects investigating the potential for classical music as a form of environmental enrichment for captive elephants. Those projects, plus a kind donation, have now resulted in a regular program of […]


Frequently Asked Questions ELEPHANTS Where did your elephants come from? Each elephant has their own story…. Why has Sally been at the Park for so long? The only life that Sally has ever known How long do elephants live? On average, elephants have the same lifetime as humans, roughly 65-70 years. How much do elephants […]


Elephant reproduction

REPRODUCTION The male’s penis is encased in a sheath but is released for urinating and mating – and the huge size leads to it often being referred to as a ‘fifth leg’! The female’s vaginal opening is located between her hind limbs, not under the tail as in many species. Her mammary glands are located […]


Group of elephants

COMMUNICATION Elephants are extremely intelligent. They are able to adapt to new conditions, react to human interference and human presence. The high level of intelligence can also be seen in the degree of social interaction and contact you see between individuals, the subtle nature of their communication and the generally close-knit structure of the elephant […]


Elephant diet

DIET Elephants are herbivorous, eating roots, grasses, leaves, fruit, and bark. Because of their huge size and low digestibility of the food they eat, elephants spend most of their time eating – up to 75 % of their day. Bulls can eat up to 130-260 kg of food each day, depending on their size and […]

Social Behaviour

Elephant Social Behaviour

SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR Elephants live in female family groups (8-10 animals), which are made up of the matriarch (usually the oldest female), related females and their offspring. The matriarch is responsible for the safety of the herd and for finding enough food and water, based on many years of past experience and knowledge. The males stay […]

The Organ of Jacobson

Elephant Herd

THE ORGAN OF JACOBSON The organ of Jacobson or vomeronasal gland is an almost forgotten body part. It is a sense organ with the ability to detect chemical signals. In humans, the external evidence consists of a pair of tiny pits, one on either side of the nasal septum, approximately 3mm above the nostril. In […]

Teeth & Tusks

Elephant Skull

THE TEETH & TUSKS Elephants are best known by many people in the world for their teeth. It is because of the human lust for ivory that thousands of elephants are being slaughtered for their teeth. Ivory is really only dentine and is no different from ordinary teeth. It is the diamond-shaped pattern of the […]

Trunk & Respiratory System

Elephant Trunk & Respiratory System

THE TRUNK The trunk is formed by a combination of the nose, upper lip and certain facial muscles. There are no bones in the trunk. The two nostril tubes are surrounded by approximately 60 000 muscle ‘units’, divided into 6 major muscle groups, which are responsible for the dexterity and fine movement of the trunk, […]