Do Pygmy Elephants Exist Or Are They A Myth?

Early in this century, a Belgian soldier journeyed into the dense jungles of Zaire in search of an animal that most Europeans regarded as legendary.

Natives in this region had told of a small elephant, about half the size of the ordinary elephant, that lived in rivers and swamps. Did this “pygmy elephant” really exist?

After months in the jungle, the Belgian emerged with the hide and tusks of a small elephant. This creature was 5 feet tall, while the ordinary African elephant stands about 11 feet tall. And the Belgian claimed that the creature he had slain was one of the largest in its herd.

The soldier soon died from fever. The “pygmy elephants” he had described were never seen again. Two small elephants once resided in zoos, but these were thought to be dwarf specimens of the ordinary elephant.

If there really is a species of pygmy elephant, it still awaits capture.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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