Facts & figures
Below we have listed some facts and figures for the three species of elephants, based on our best knowledge. The population figures are very rough estimates - partly due to lack of updated, reliable counts. If you have any data to help us fill in gaps please let us know!
Genetic evidence presented in 2001 led to the generally accepted decision that Africa is home to two rather than one species of elephant: The African savanna elephant, Loxodonta africana and the African forest elephant, Loxodonta cyclotis. This is significant because it means that there are many fewer elephants remaining of each individual species, with the forest elephant being the more endangered. IUCN currently do not recognize this decision.
|434,000-550.000||60,000-150,000||Approx. 30,000 wild;
|490,000-575.000||100,000-160,000||Approx. 30,000 wild;
|Population 1979 (Estimates)||1.3 million both African species||See African savanna||28,000-42,000|
|IUCN Status||Vulnerable||Not indicated as a separate species by IUCN||Endangered|
|Range states||37 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Native: Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Regionally extinct: Burundi; Gambia; Mauritania
|Found most commonly in countries with dense forests:
Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon and Central African Republic in central Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Ghana in West Africa
|Native: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera), Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah), Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam
Regionally extinct: Pakistan
|Ave. max height male||Almost 4 m||2.4 m||Almost 3.5 m|
|Ave. max height female||Almost 2.7 m||1.98 m||2.4 m|
|Ave. max weight male||6,000 kg||5,500 kg|
|Ave. max weight female||2,767 kg||-|
|Ave. weight newborn||120 kg||-||90 kg|
at male independence
|Ears||Very large triangular||Typically smaller,
prominent ear folds
|Teeth||Lozenge-shaped loops||Lozenge-shaped loops||Narrow compressed loops|
|Mandible||Short and wide||Long and narrow|
|Tusks, male||Thicker more upcurved
|More slender and straighter than savanna||Yes, but many are tuskless|
|Tusks, female||Thicker more upcurved than forest||More slender and straighter than savanna||Vestigial or absent|
|Tusklessness||More common in females; % varies depending on ivory hunting pressure||% varies from population to population||Males: Varies from population to population|
|Tusks, ave max. weight||7 kg female; 49 kg male|
|Tusk, max. recorded weight||97.3 kg|
|Ivory||Softer and more yellow
|Harder and "pinker"
|Trunk||Two finger-like tips||Two finger-like tips||One finger-like tip|
|Toenails||Four on forefoot;
three on hindfoot
|Five on forefoot; three on hindfoot||Five on forefeet, four
on hind foot
|Temporal gland secretion||Both sexes;
common in females
uncommon in females
very rare in females
|Sound production||As low as 10 Hz||As low as 5 Hz||As low as 8 Hz|
|Males||Form bachelor groups||Form bachelor groups||Form bachelor groups rarely|
|Average home range||Up to 11,000 km2
|Up to 2,000 km2||Up to 4,000 km2|
calves: lions, hyenas
Poaching for ivory and meat.
Loss and Fragmentation of habitat due to expansion of human population and land development.
Human-elephant conflict mainly due to habitat encroachment.
Forest elephants face the threats of poaching for ivory and habitat loss, similar to other elephants, but they also are more frequently hunted for meat and threatened by industries extracting natural resources, such as wood, minerals, and oil.
Forest elephants have not benefited from development of an ecotourism industry that encourages their protection.
Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, which also leads to human-elephant conflict and death. Asian elephants live among the most dense human populations in the world.
Poaching for meat, leather, and ivory.