The Forest Elephant

What are they?: Forest elephants are subspecies of African elephants.They are found in 4 different countries and inhabit just 25% of their historic range. They inhabit the wooded rainforests of west and central Africa. Forest elephants have a strong preference for such dense forests, which prohibits traditional methods of counting like visual identification. They are about 8–10 feet tall and weigh 2–5 tons. These elephants are smaller than their other subspecies of the savanna elephants. Their ears are more oval shaped and their tusks point more downward rather than upward. These elepants depend on the forests that are being ruined.

“More than 600 African elephants have been poached in the last decade”

They are important: Forest elephants are essential for the germination of many rain forest trees. The seeds from these trees only germinate after they pass through the african elephant’s digestive tract.

Threats: Illegal wild life trade. These elephants are threatened by poaching for bushmeat and ivory. “Tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year to meet the illegal international demand for ivory.” These elephants are being slaughtered by raids of greedy poachers. Many governments do not have proper human or financial resources to stop these poachers and protect the elephants. Also, the expanding human population is also pushing out the elephants. “The elephants range shrank from three million square miles in 1979 to just over one million square miles in 2007.” and this is only getting worse. Poverty, civil conflict also is a factor to the habitat loss. The forest elephants need room!

What we can do: Promote community-based fisheries to reduce poverty so people have a source of protein. This will then lower the need for bushmeat as a source of food and income. Having more employment opportunities will also help. We need to stop illegal trade and come up with new strategies to led to a resoloution.