African Forest Elephant
The largest known mammal on land!
African Forest Elephant Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Loxodonta cyclotis
African Forest Elephant Conservation Status
African Forest Elephant Locations
African Forest Elephant Facts
- Grass, Fruit, Roots
- Name Of Young
- Group Behavior
- Fun Fact
- The largest known mammal on land!
- Estimated Population Size
- Biggest Threat
- Poaching and habitat loss
- Most Distinctive Feature
- Rounded ears and thin, straight tusks
- Other Name(s)
- African Elephant
- Gestation Period
- 22 - 24 months
- Forest, savannah and flood plains
- Human, Lion, Hyena
- Average Litter Size
- Common Name
- African Forest Elephant
- Number Of Species
- central and southern Africa
- Have large rounded ears to help keep them cool!
African Forest Elephant Physical Characteristics
- Skin Type
- Top Speed
- 24 mph
- 60 - 70 years
- 900kg - 3,000kg (1,984lbs - 6,613lbs)
- 2m - 3m (6.6ft - 9.8ft)
- Age of Sexual Maturity
- 11 - 20 years
- Age of Weaning
- 5 years
African Forest Elephant Images
Click through all of our African Forest Elephant images in the gallery.
African Forest Elephant Classification and Evolution
The African Forest Elephant is one of two Elephant subspecies on the African continent. Until recently, scientists thought they were the same species. But further study revealed enough variation to warrant subspecies status.
African Forest Elephants are slightly smaller than African Bush Elephants, but they’re still one of the largest animals on land today. Although the two species are very similar, the African Forest Elephant has rounder ears, straighter tusks, and more toenails than the African Bush Elephant.
African Forest Elephant Anatomy and Appearance
The African Forest Elephant is the one of the largest known land mammals on Earth, with male African Forest Elephants reaching nearly 3 meters in height and the female African Forest Elephants around 2.5 meters. The tusks of an African Forest Elephant can grow to nearly 1.5 meters long and generally weigh between 50 and 100 pounds, which is about the same as a small adult Human. They are thinner, straighter and shorter than the tusks of the African Bush Elephant. African Forest Elephants have four molar teeth each weighing about 5.0 kg and measuring about 12 inches long. They have large rounded ears which are used both for hearing and to keep them cool.
African Forest Elephant Distribution and Habitat
The African Forest Elephant mainly lives in central and southern Africa in nomadic herds that wander through the forests and grasslands of Africa grazing for food and searching for waterholes. They are most commonly founds in the tropical dense jungles, where their smaller size allows them to move through the thick vegetation more easily than the larger African Bush Elephant. African Forest Elephants are threatened throughout much of their natural habitat today mainly due to deforestation and climate change and have been pushed into smaller and smaller pockets of their native lands.
African Forest Elephant Behavior and Lifestyle
The African Forest Elephant mainly uses its immense tusks for digging for roots in the ground and to strip the bark off trees. The African Forest Elephant also uses its tusks to defend itself from predators such as Lions, and to fight with other male African Forest Elephants during the mating season. Males are generally fairly solitary but females and their young form small family groups known as herds. This allows the more vulnerable offspring to be more easily protected. African Forest Elephants communicate through a series of low-frequency calls which they are able to detect from a few kilometers away.
African Forest Elephant Reproduction and Life Cycles
Female African Forest Elephants reach sexual maturity (are able to reproduce) after 10 or 11 years, and male African Forest Elephants often don’t reach sexual maturity until they are nearly 20 years old. After a gestation period of up to 2 years, the female African Forest Elephant gives birth to a single calf (twins have been known but are extremely rare). The African Forest Elephant calf is nursed for 2 years and will remain with the herd until it is old enough to support itself. It is at this point that the tusks of the African Forest Elephant calf will be starting to grow.
African Forest Elephant Diet and Prey
The African Forest Elephant is a herbivorous animal meaning that it only eats plants and other vegetation. They predominantly eat leaves and fruit from trees, herbs and low-lying shrubs. However, the front pair of molars in the mouth of the African Forest Elephant wear down and drop out in pieces, making the back pair shift forward and two new molars emerge in the back of the African Forest Elephant’s mouth. African Forest Elephants replace their teeth six times during their lives but when the African Forest Elephant is about 40 to 60 years old, the African Forest Elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, which is sadly a common cause of death in the African wilderness.
African Forest Elephant Predators and Threats
The African Forest Elephant has no real natural predators to threaten its survival, mainly due to the African forest elephant’s sheer size. However, it is not uncommon for large carnivores such as Lions and Hyenas to pick out a calf that has strayed from the herd or an adult that is more vulnerable from ill health or old age. African Forest Elephants are fairly docile animals and can be seen co-inhabiting in the African wilderness with other large mammals and birds, relatively peacefully. Deforestation and therefore loss of its natural habitat is one of the biggest threats to the African Forest Elephant, along with poaching.
African Forest Elephant Interesting Facts and Features
The tusks of the African Forest Elephant are pretty straight instead of curved to help them move through the thick jungle with greater ease. This, along with their pinkish tinge, has made the ivory of the African Forest Elephant’s tusks in high demand on the black market. Despite African Forest Elephants being able to communicate with one another through a couple of miles of dense jungle, the sound they make is so low that it cannot be heard by Humans. They are an essential tool in the spreading of seeds throughout Africa’s forests and are therefore vital to the running of their native ecosystems.
African Forest Elephant Relationship with Humans
Sadly, due to an increase of outside interest in Africa and its exotic wonders, the African Forest Elephant population took a devastating decline towards extinction. In 1989 a worldwide Elephant ivory hunting ban fell into place, meaning that the African Forest Elephant population has fortunately begun to recover. In 1980, there were an estimated 380,000 African Forest Elephants but due to growing Human populations in their native countries, numbers have fallen to 200,000. Deforestation of their habitats and the illegal poaching of the African Forest Elephant for their ivory are also to blame for their recent demise.
African Forest Elephant Conservation Status and Life Today
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Today, although slightly recovering in certain areas, African Forest Elephant populations are still threatened from increasing levels of illegal poaching and habitat destruction. Deforestation in the African Forest Elephant’s territory means that the African Forest Elephants lose both their food and shelter making them more vulnerable in the wild. African Forest Elephants are also constantly threatened by poachers hunting the Elephants for their ivory tusks. They are now listed as an Endangered species.
African Forest Elephant FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are African Forest Elephants herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?
African Forest Elephants are Herbivores, meaning they eat plants.
What Kingdom do African Forest Elephants belong to?
African Forest Elephants belong to the Kingdom Animalia.
What class do African Forest Elephants belong to?
African Forest Elephants belong to the class Mammalia.
What phylum to African Forest Elephants belong to?
African Forest Elephants belong to the phylum Chordata.
What family do African Forest Elephants belong to?
African Forest Elephants belong to the family Elephantidae.
What order do African Forest Elephants belong to?
African Forest Elephants belong to the order Proboscidea.
What type of covering do African Forest Elephants have?
African Forest Elephants are covered in Leathery skin.
What genus do African Forest Elephants belong to?
African Forest Elephants belong to the genus Loxodonta.
Where do African Forest Elephants live?
African Forest Elephants live in central and southern Africa.
In what type of habitat do African Forest Elephants live?
African Forest Elephants live in forests, savannas, and floodplains.
What are some predators of African Forest Elephants?
Predators of African Forest Elephants include humans, lions, and hyenas.
How many babies do African Forest Elephants have?
The average number of babies an African Forest Elephant has is 1.
What is an interesting fact about African Forest Elephants?
African Forest Elephants have large rounded ears to help keep them cool!
What is the scientific name for the African Forest Elephant?
The scientific name for the African Forest Elephant is Loxodonta cyclotis.
What is the lifespan of an African Forest Elephant?
African Forest Elephants can live for 60 to 70 years.
What is a baby African Forest Elephant called?
A baby African Forest Elephant is called a calf.
How many species of African Forest Elephant are there?
There is 1 species of African Forest Elephant.
What is the biggest threat to the African Forest Elephant?
The biggest threats to the African Forest Elephant are poaching and habitat loss.
What is another name for the African Forest Elephant?
The African Forest Elephant is also called the African elephant.
How many African Forest Elephants are left in the world?
There are 200,000 African Forest Elephants left in the world.
How fast is an African Forest Elephant?
An African Forest Elephant can travel at speeds of up to 24 miles per hour.
How to say African Forest Elephant in ...
- David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife
- Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
- David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
- Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species
- David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
- Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
- David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals
- African Forest Elephant Classification, Available here: http://www.animalcorner.co.uk/rainforests/forestelephant.html
- African Forest Elephant Habitat, Available here: http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/elephants/african_forest_elephant.html
- African Forest Elephant Information, Available here: http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/african_forest_elephant.htm
- African Forest Elephant Threats, Available here: http://www.elephant.se/african_forest_elephant.php
- African Forest Elephant Conservation, Available here: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/africanelephants/forestelephant.html