Elephants are one of the key species and are rightly considered the architects of different habitats; without the elephants, many other species, both animals and plants, would suffer and risk succumbing, since they are a vital link in the ecosystem and play an essential role.
A key species is a species that has a major impact on the environment in which it lives and plays an important role in maintaining the balance of the structure of an ecological community, as well as influencing many other organisms within this community.
Elephants are considered to be great sowers, because they feed on plant matter, ingest also fruits and seeds of bushes and plants, transport them and disperse them in the environment through their dung; this process is known as zoocorphic dissemination.
Their highly frugivorous diet and the huge amount of food consumed daily makes them the most effective seed distributors, they disperse seeds more than any other animal on the African continent.
They are also responsible for spreading the seeds for longer distances, a study has revealed that the elephants dispersed the seeds to over 57 km, while most of the animals scatter seeds a few hundred meters from the source.
Elephants are able to bring back life in some previously compromised habitats thanks to the constant transport of many different species of seeds and their ability to disperse the seeds even at a considerable distance from where they have ingested them.
After the elephants disperse the seeds, their dung provides a suitable germination environment in which the seeds can sprout and grow; the elephant dung is in fact extremely rich in minerals and is very fibrous because only about 50% of what the elephants eat is actually digested.
Elephants also provide water for other species, these animals are able to identify water at a distance and travel miles to look for it; they also remember the underground points where the water is present, they are able, with the aid of their paws and proboscis, to dig holes to reach the water present in the subsoil.
Wells dug by elephants are also used by other animals, such as lions, giraffes and antelopes, that do not have the same ability to detect water.
Elephants, like architects, alter and modify habitats by breaking down trees, tearing trees bark and destroying bushes.
They are able to transform forests into open savannah, creating an ideal habitat for grazing for dozens of antelope species.
When the elephants abandon the grassy savannah, this will turn into bushy savannah with bushes and small plants and then, over the years, it will return to be a tree-lined savannah.
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