Forest Elephant

Scientific Name

Loxodonta cyclotis

Weight

3 to 6.6 tons

Size

Nearly 3 meters in height (nearly 10 feet) 1 to 3 meters in length (3 to 10 feet)

Lifespan

60 to 70 years

Habitat

Lowland, tropical rainforests

Diet

Herbivorous

Gestation

22 to 24 months

Predators

Humans

Found in
4
countries
More than
60%
poached in last decade
Inhabit just
25%
of their historic range
Forest Elephant

Challenges

Forest elephants have been cursed with ivory.

Like all elephants, they have beautiful tusks on either side of their faces. Unfortunately, this ivory makes it a target for poachers who slaughter elephants to obtain it. The tusks of these forest-dwelling elephants are denser and more desirable to carvers than the ivory of any other species. About 62 percent of all forest elephants have been killed for their ivory in the last decade.

Their elusiveness makes them difficult to conserve.

Scientists are just beginning to understand the forest elephant’s habits, patterns, and movements. Lack of knowledge is a barrier to protecting these animals.

Forest elephants have the slowest reproductive rate of the three elephant species.

The sexually mature age of these elephants is not until 23 and then the average gestation period is about two years. In this case, any population decline caused by poaching, bushmeat trade, logging operations, and natural resource extraction is more devastating. If poaching was stopped today, then scientists say it would take 81 years to reverse the 62 percent decline experienced in the last decade.

Solutions

Our solutions to protecting the forest elephant:

Research
Proper conservation cannot occur before research.

African Wildlife Foundation is funding research, like the PLOS ONE study, to create comprehensive data on the forest elephant. This groundbreaking study has the largest dataset on this species and its findings showed that their population has declined dramatically — by 62 percent — in the last decade.

Forest Elephant
Forest Elephant

Habitats

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