Packiderms are quintessential,
Perhaps even providential,
Whether they’re the Asian
Or African persuasion,
They’re relephant and essential.

Elephants are, indeed, essential to the ecosystems they inhabit. In fact, many species throughout the food web owe their continued survival to this so-called keystone organism. Elephants disperse more seeds further than any other animal — one study suggests up to 35 miles (57 km). Through their dung they provide food or shelter, directly or indirectly, to frogs, hornbills, banded mongooses, velvet monkeys, baboons, honey badgers and many invertebrates, including beetles, ants, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions, crickets, spiders and termites. Additionally, they make otherwise inaccessible fruits available to warthogs, kudu, baboons and other animals on the ground. They also provide water by digging for underground caches and make forest habitat more varied by opening up paths and clearings.

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