African Forest Elephants

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 13, 2022, 9:00

Broadly, there are two kinds of elephants in Africa. One is the African bush elephant (African savanna elephant), and the other is the African Forest Elephants. People always believed that African bush elephants and African Forest Elephants were the same, but research shows that they are different species.

Like African bush elephants, African Forest Elephants got their name from where they live. Usually, this elephant is seen in Gabon's forest, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Ghana. However, the population of African Forest Elephants has been steadily declining due to illegal poaching.

African Forest Elephants - Vital Facts

The African forest elephant's skin colour is grey, and it converts from yellowish to red after wallowing. An African forest elephant has five toenails on the hindfoot and four on the forefront. Its ears are oval-shaped with tiny elliptical-shaped lips.

Their large ears help them in reducing body heat. When they flap the ears, it produces an air current. It also exposes their ear's inner sides. The back is straight and has tusks, which are pointed downwards. The African forest elephant's trunk is the prehensile elongation of its nose and upper lip. Its mighty trunk can lift about 3% of its body weight.

African forest elephant tusks are straight and pointed downwards. Both male and female African Forest Elephants have tusks developed from deciduous teeth called tushes. When the claves reach one year, they are replaced by tusks.

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African Forest Elephants - Food Habits

African Forest Elephants are usually vegetarian. They thrive on fruits, tree bark, leaves, seeds, and grasses. These elephants are called 'mega-gardeners' since they disperse the seeds of multiple tree species.

They also flock to mineral-rich waterholes to fulfil their needs for minerals.

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African Forest Elephants - Behaviour

African Forest Elephants live in joint families like humans, and the family consists of adults, sub-adults, sons and daughters, etc. When their children become young, they start getting separated.

When young males reach sexual maturity, they start living alone or in bachelor groups. They only associate with the family during mating season.

African Forest Elephants generally travel 8 km a day, and their seasonal movement is as per the availability of ripe fruits. They use a complex network of endless trails that pass through fruit trees and associate forest clearings with mineral licks.

African Forest Elephants - Life Expectancy

Usually, African Forest Elephants live till the age of 70 years. But sometimes, their life expectancy may reduce due to poaching, deforestation, and human-elephant conflict.

African Forest Elephants are estimated to constitute up to one–third of the continent's elephant population. However, they are tough to observe due to the dense vegetation that makes up their habitat.

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FAQs on African Forest Elephants

Q.1) What are African Forest Elephants?

Broadly, there are two kinds of elephants in Africa. One is the African bush elephant (African savanna elephant), and the other is the African Forest Elephants.

Q.2) Where are African Forest Elephants seen?

Usually, African Forest Elephants are seen in Gabon's forest, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Ghana.

Q.3) What is the skin colour of African Forest Elephants?

The African forest elephant's skin colour is grey, and it converts from yellowish to red after wallowing.

Q.4) How are the tusks of African Forest Elephants?

African forest elephant tusks are straight and pointed downwards. Both male and female African Forest Elephants have tusks that develop from deciduous teeth called tushes.

Q.5) What is the lifespan of African Forest Elephants?

Usually, African Forest Elephants live till the age of 70 years. But sometimes, their life expectancy may reduce due to poaching, deforestation, and human-elephant conflict.