Sunday, February 21, 2010

Africa's Wonder - Maree

"Let a Person Walk Alone With Few Wishes, Committing No Wrong, Like an Elephant in the Forest."

Africa's wild animals are a constant source of inspiration for my sketching 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. Although this sanctuary does excellent work, my visits are always full of heart-break for me, knowing that man can even THINK of harming any creatures, never mind these kind and loving animals. Their family structure is akin to our own, with tight family bonds of honour and caring and it is very difficult to provide the family bonds elephants need in order to survive and maintain a healthy mental attitude.

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!).

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. Very interesting post and lovely fresh sketch, Maree. Thank you, and keep us posted on the elephant sanctuary

  2. You captured this elephants majesty. Beautiful sketch of a magnificent animal.

  3. Thanks Sketching Birds. Will do something different on my next visit there!

  4. Thank you Lisa - my heart was sore while I was doing this sketch - this youngster was slowly rocking forwards and backwards, definitely a symptom of some deep unhappiness...


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