A herd of hundreds of elephants that have returned to north-east Nigeria are under threat from jihadist groups and increasingly in conflict with thousands of refugees whose crops they have trampled weeks before harvest. In the 1980s, it was difficult to carry out systematic surveys in several East African range countries due to civil wars. The insecurity has affected their migratory routes because before there were many settlements of people but everywhere is now open.”. [23], Both male and female African elephants have tusks that grow from deciduous teeth called tushes, which are replaced by tusks when calves are about one year old. padding-left: 4px; } [67], China was the biggest market for poached ivory but announced that it would phase out the legal domestic manufacture and sale of ivory products in May 2015, and in September of that year, China and the U.S.A. "said they would enact a nearly complete ban on the import and export of ivory. Males sire few offspring in periods when they are not in musth. [citation needed], Based on vegetation types that provide suitable habitat for African elephants, it was estimated that in the early 19th century a maximum of 26,913,000 African elephants might have been present from the Sahel in the north to the Highveld in the south. [a] The animal is believed to evoke strength, royal legacy, and enduring memory as related by the proverbs: "There where the elephant passes in the forest, one knows" and "The animal steps on the ground, but the elephant steps down with strength. } They use these tusks to dig for food and water and strip bark from trees. [33], When separate family units bond, they form kinship or bond groups. African elephants once roamed across most of the continent from the northern Mediterranean coast to the southern tip. African elephants are the world's largest land animals. Located in southern Kenya, Amboseli National Park lies on the … Poverty, armed conflict and the displacement of people by civil conflict also add to habitat loss and fragmentation. African elephants are sometimes categorized into savanna elephants and forest elephants. [3] In 1987, it was estimated that the African elephant population had declined to 760,000 individuals. Large populations of elephants are confined to well-protected areas. Elephants are fond of water and enjoy showering by sucking water into their trunks and spraying it all over themselves. Eew! (Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears.). Where once elephants roamed across the whole of Africa, they are now limited to conservation areas and the Savannah. “It is a very dangerous area for the elephants because of issues with the local populations and because there is still fighting,” said Peter Ayuba, the director of forests and wildlife in Borno state. Males over the age of 25 compete strongly for females in estrus, and are more successful the larger and more aggressive they are. Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. margin-top: 1.0em; [24], The dental formula of elephants is × 2 = 26. .widget_mailchimpsf_widget .widget-title { On the supply side, protecting elephants from poaching also requires a local approach. 1250 24th Street, N.W. [63] Conservation groups and governments have worked to set aside land for wildlife—including corridors that connect those protected lands. [32][33] African forest elephant groups are less cohesive than African bush elephant groups, probably because of the lack of predators. 287). The elephants’ range shrank from three million square miles in 1979 to just over one million square miles in 2007. Their travel gives them access to ivory in some of the destinations most popular with Chinese travelers where elephant ivory is still on the shelves. WWF also develops and supports community-based wildlife management plans that contribute to elephant conservation while providing benefits to local people. [30], African elephants are distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa, where they inhabit Sahelian scrubland and arid regions, tropical rainforests, mopane and miombo woodlands. The first scientific description of the African elephant was written by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in 1797 who proposed the scientific name Elephas africanus. African elephants range throughout the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa and the rainforests of central and West Africa. Savannah elephants occur in eastern and southern Africa, with the highest densities found in Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia and South Africa. Research has found that regular outbound Chinese travelers have the highest interest in purchasing elephant ivory despite the ban in China. [37], The male elephants were believed to be solitary animals, becoming independent once reaching maturity. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears that look somewhat like the continent of Africa. The arrival of Europeans kicked off the commercial ivory trend, in which tusks were used for piano keys, billiards balls, combs, and all kinds of other items. Available for everyone, funded by readers, Muhammadu Buhari addresses nation but fails to mention shootings by security forces on Tuesday, Police violence prompted latest protests but anger at the government is growing, Demonstrators against police brutality killed in Lagos after security forces opened fire, Crackdown as rallies against police brutality continue in defiance of government curfew. African elephants are protected to varying degrees in all the countries of their geographic range. Still, researchers believe that up to 70 percent of elephants' range is on unprotected land. Previously, export had been allowed in Southern Africa with Zimbabwe capturing and exporting more than 100 baby elephants to Chinese zoos since 2012. After puberty, male elephants tend to form close alliances with other males. [38], While feeding, the African elephant uses its trunk to pluck leaves and its tusk to tear at branches, which can cause enormous damage to foliage. Our work is only possible with your support. After the ban came into force in 1990, retail sales of ivory carvings in South Africa have plummeted by more than 95% within 10 years. The first scientific description of the African elephant was written by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in 1797 who proposed the scientific name Elephas africanus. } margin-top: 0.5em; } ", "The ivory trade and elephant conservation", "Le braconnage et la population d'éléphants au Parc National de Zakouma (Tchad)", "Tanzania elephant population declined by 60% in five years, census reveals", "Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits", "Poaching behind worst African elephant losses in 25 years", "China and US agree on ivory ban in bid to end illegal trade globally", "Elephants still at risk with Laos replacing China as ivory market", "Status and trends of the ivory trade in Africa, 1989–1999", "African Elephant Specialist Group report", "Near-total ban imposed on sending wild African elephants to zoos", "383. A male elephant can grow up to 4 metres in height and weigh up to 7 tonnes; whilst their females counterparts can still weigh in at a mere 3.5 tonnes. In 1989, the Kenyan Wildlife Service burned a stockpile of tusks in protest against the ivory trade. No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died, Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population, Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild, Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild, Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future, Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened. An elephant can destroy an entire season of crops in a single night—a huge blow to a farmer, who may want to retaliate. The enamel plates of the molars are fewer in number than in Asian elephants. Males usually stay with a female and her herd for about a month before moving on in search of another mate.