African forest elephant

Inhabiting humid forests in West Africa; they are the smallest of the three elephant species

Thomas Breuer

African forest elephant closely resembles African bush elephant, but the former is notably smaller in body size. Their ears are more oval-shaped, and the tusks are straighter and point downward. Their skin is grey and covered with coarse black hair.

They share the same fate as all other elephants – being cursed with ivory. Their beautiful tusks make them a target for poachers to hunt them for the tusks. In addition, the tusks of these forest-dwelling elephants are denser and preferable to carvers than the tusks of any other species.

Sadly, their reproduction rate is the lowest among other savanna elephants, making it harder to bounce back from the decline of the population.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Angola
2020
Benin
350-400
Official estimate
CR
2020
Burkina Faso
2020
Cameroon
400
Official estimate
CR
2020
Central Af. Rep.
9,500
Official estimate
CR
2020
Congo-Brazzaville
10,000
Official estimate
CR
2020
Côte D’ivoire
225
Official estimate
EN
2020
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
219
Official estimate
CR
2020
Equatorial Guinea
700-900
Official estimate
CR
2020
Gabon
50,000 – 60,000
Official estimate
CR
2020
Gambia
Official estimate
EX
Extinct 1913
Ghana
200-400
Official estimate
CR
2020
Guinea-Bissau
200-500
Official estimate
CR
2020
Guinea
1,500-2,000
Official estimate
CR
2020
Liberia
350 – 450
Official estimate
CR
2020
Niger
100-150
Official estimate
CR
2020
Nigeria
400
Official estimate
CR
2020
Senegal
2020
Sierra Leone
200-400
Official estimate
CR
2020
South Sudan
2020
Togo
150-200
Official estimate
CR
2020

Recent updates

March 2023: In Gabon, a new AI-powered camera is being tested to help conserve elephant populations by sending real-time data to forest rangers and local villagers, while also detecting other animals, humans, and potential conflicts or illegal activities.

Feb 2023: According to a study, African forest elephants act as gardeners of the African rainforest, helping to store carbon and maintain biodiversity. They also facilitate the growth of plants and trees, contributing to taking carbon out of the atmosphere.

Jan 2023: A new study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution found that African forest elephants are more resilient to habitat fragmentation than previously thought, suggesting that conservation efforts focused on protecting forest corridors may be effective in maintaining healthy elephant populations.

Sep 2022: The government of the Republic of Congo announced that it had established a new national park, Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, which will provide important habitat for forest elephants as well as other wildlife.

Anything we've missed?

Help us improve this page by suggesting edits. Glory never dies!

Suggest an edit

Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No