African Forest Elephant Loxodonta cyclotis

African Forest Elephant Loxodonta cyclotis

African Forest Elephant Loxodonta cyclotis

Critically Endangered

Extant (resident): Angola; Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, Côte d’Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Togo

Extinct: Gambia

#Poaching for #ivory is the main threat to #African #Forest #Elephants although #deforestation the tropical forests of #Congo #Guinea #WestAfrica for #palmoil #timber is a real threat. Help these beautiful creatures #Boycott4Wildlife

Rapid land use change, including palm oil plantations across their range is driving the direct loss and fragmentation of habitat, is an increasing threat to African elephants across their range.

IUCN red list

African Forest Elephants are found across the Guineao-Congolian tropical forests of west and central Africa stretching from remnant habitat in the northwest in Guinea and Sierra Leone (10 ° North, 12° West) to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (4° South, 29° East). They occupy a variety of forest habitats including lowland humid forest on terra firma, swamp forests, the lower reaches of Afro-montane forests, dry forests and forest-savanna mosaics. They have a wide altitudinal range from the littoral forests along the Atlantic coast to about 2,000 metres in the Albertine Rift.

African Forest Elephants are capable of moving long distances and may do so regularly, usually depending on fruiting events and a requirement for mineral salts. African Forest Elephants also demonstrate range residence and regular movement patterns with home ranges varying between less than 10 km2 to more than 2,000 km2 (Blake et al. 2008, Schuttler et al. 2012). Their movements are largely predicted by human pressure such as roads and villages rather than by vegetation type (Blake et al. 2008, Molina-Vacas et al. 2019). Fifteen African Forest Elephant subpopulations (seven of which number more than 1,000 individuals) span international boundaries, including more than 25,000 African Forest Elephants in the three-country TRIDOM landscape where a transfrontier management agreement is formalized between Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and Gabon (Lindsay et al. 2017). Such management agreements also exist for the WAP complex in Burkina-Faso, Benin, and Niger, and for the Sangha Tri-National Landscape in Cameroon, Congo, and the Central African Republic.

Poaching for ivory is currently the principal cause of death of African Forest Elephants (Wittemyer et al. 2014, Thouless et al. 2016) with persistent poaching pressure at many sites evident from their first surveys in the 1970s to the present day (Douglas-Hamilton 1989, Barnes et al. 1993, Maisels et al. 2013). Data collected as a part of the CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants programme (MIKE), indicate that poaching significantly intensified across the continent starting in 2008 and peaking in 2011 – an unsustainably high level of poaching has continued into current times (CITES 2018, 2019).

Land conversion is a product of the ongoing expansion of the human population and associated agriculture and infrastructure development, which in turn are driven by economic and technological advances.

A specific manifestation of this trend is the reported increase in human-elephant conflict (e.g., Ngama et al. 2016). Human population growth projections suggest land conversion will accelerate rapidly in the coming decades across Africa (see which will likely increase this threat.

You can support this beautiful animal

Sheldrick Wildlife

Virunga National Park

Africa Conservation Foundation


Further Information


Gobush, K.S., Edwards, C.T.T, Maisels, F., Wittemyer, G., Balfour, D. & Taylor, R.D. 2021. Loxodonta cyclotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T181007989A181019888. Downloaded on 08 June 2021.

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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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