cyclotis [lok' suh don' tuh sI' klo tis]
The Forest Elephant rarely
stands more than 8 feet at the shoulders,
compared to up to 13 feet for its savannah
counterpart. It also has slimmer and straighter
tusks, smoother skin, and more rounded ears than
its savannah cousin. It has 5 toes on its front
feet and 4 on its hind feet. The tusks can be up
to 5 feet long and weigh 50 to 100 pounds.
Most of the remaining forest elephants are
primarily found in Gabon and the Republic of
Congo, with significant populations also
remaining in the southeastern corner of the
Republic of Cameroon, and the adjoining
southwestern tip of the Central African Republic.
They live in the tropical dense jungles, where
their smaller size allows them to move through
the thick vegetation more easily.
Habits and Behaviors
The home range of an individual forest
elephant can be more than 772 square miles, which
is bigger than many of the national parks in
central Africa, and it can walk across large
national parks in as little as three days.
Highly aware that roads are very dangerous,
unless they are protected from poachers, a forest
elephant will travel 14 times faster than normal
in order to cross a road it considers to be
Like their savannah counterparts, forest
elephants live in herds of several females and
calfs, with most adult males being solitary.
Forest elephants communicate through a series
of low-frequency calls, which they are able to
detect from a few miles away.
Female forest elephants reach
sexual maturity at 10-11 years, males not until
they are almost 20 years old.
A single calf (very rarely
twins) is born after a gestation period of almost
two years. The calf will be nursed for two years,
and will stay with the herd until able to fend
A forest elephant can live up
to 70 years in the wild.
Forest elephants rely far more
on fruit than savannah elephants; they also feed
on bark, leaves, and herbaceous material. Their requirement
for mineral salts attracts them to specific,
mineral-rich, open forest clearings that occur
throughout the forest region. Here the elephants
dig in the soil, or extract the mineral
substances from the beds of rivers and streams,
sometimes by kneeling down to get as deep as
possible with their trunks or even by diving
The total population of forest elephants has
never been accurately determined so it is not
known whether their numbers are stable,
increasing, or decreasing. It is known, however,
that their range is becoming increasingly
restricted and fragmented as more and more human
activity encroaches into the once relatively
undisturbed forests of Central Africa. Like their
savannah counterparts, forest elephants are also
poached for their tusks.
Genus and species Loxondonta cyclotis
Wildlife Conservation Society http://www.wcs.org/saving-wildlife/elephants/african-forest-elephant.aspx
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