Forest elephants are a rare subspecies of African elephant that are most often found in the rainforests of west and central Africa. They are smaller than Savanna elephants, with oval-shaped ears and straighter, pointier tusks. They are most often found in countries that have large blocks of forest, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and Central African Republic, Ghana, and Liberia. As they are usually found in dense forest habitat, traditional counting methods are not usually possible. Instead, their population is usually estimated via "dung counts" - that is, an analysis based on the density and distribution of their feces.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The scientific name of the forest elephant is Loxodanta africana cyclotis.
- Forest elephants are found in much smaller numbers compared to the herds found on the African plains, usually in groups of five to eight individuals. These groups will sometimes come together to form larger "bond groups". Congregations also occur in swampy forest clearings known as "bais", where forest elephants usually go looking for minerals. Nevertheless, neither of these are anywhere near the size of elephant herds recorded on the African plains.
- The IUCN has classified the forest elephant as vulnerable.