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About Africa's Elephants

About Africa’s Elephants
There are two distinct types of African elephants, savannah elephants and forest elephants. Genetic, morphological, ecological, and behavioral evidence supports identifying African elephants as two separate and distinct species: Loxodonta africana (savannah elephants) and Loxodonta cyclotis (forest elephants). Savannah elephants live mostly in southern and east African savannahs and plains, while forest elephants largely roam central Africa’s dense forests. Elephants are a keystone species, meaning they play an extremely important role in maintaining the biodiversity in the ecological systems in which they live.

A recent census of Africa’s savannah elephants found just 350,000 remaining, while the exact number of Africa’s forest elephants is unknown. Elephants are social and intelligent animals that are typically found in herds or eight to 100 individuals and travel long distances to find food or water. Elephant herds are comprised of family members or groups of families that provide for and protect the young and are led by a matriarch, often the oldest and largest female. Tragically these same matriarchs, and other older elephants are the most targeted by poachers; who kill the animals for their more prominent and developed tusks.

Threats to Africa’s Elephants
The single greatest threat to Africa’s elephants is the global the ivory trade. Elephants are being poached in mass numbers and their ivory trafficked to fulfill an explosive demand for ivory products from consumers in countries like China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were poached for their ivory, and between 2002 and 2013, forest elephant numbers dropped by 65 percent. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed each year for their tusks. Other threats to African elephants include the loss and degradation of habitat, conflict with humans and habitat loss.

EIA: Fighting to Protect Elephants
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has been campaigning to protect elephants from the ivory trade for 30 years. Through our investigations we trace and expose the illegal ivory trade—tracking elephant poaching in Africa, monitoring transit activity, and revealing the illegal markets and flawed legal systems that sustain black market trade in consumer countries. EIA campaigns for positive change in legislation and policies at national and international levels to close loopholes that facilitate ivory laundering and to increase penalties for poachers and ivory traders. EIA supports ending all ivory trade, both internationally and domestically.

Recent Posts

Kruger National Park Rhino Population Crash Underscores Continued Poaching Threat Facing World’s Rhinos
01/29/2021
Newly released rhino population data reveals how the protracted poaching crisis fueled by consumer demand for rhino horn in Asia has decimated Kruger’s rhino population over the past decade.
World Rhino Day 2020: No Time for Complacency
09/22/2020
Today marks the 10 years since the first World Rhino Day celebration on September 22, 2010. The past decade has been fraught with challenges for the world’s rhinos, yet some progress has been made. If the next 10 years are to be better for rhinos than the past 10 years, we cannot afford to lose focus now.

Recent Reports

Open Letter to the 117th Congress and Biden-Harris Administration on Tackling Global Deforestation
03/03/2021
The undersigned civil society organizations call on Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to enact significant new trade rules and policy measures to support the health and well-being of the world’s forests and the people who depend on them.
NGO Appeal to Tokyo for Urgent Measures on Ivory
02/18/2021
EIA and 25 international non-government environmental and conservation organizations sent a letter February 18, 2021 to follow up on a previous appeal from March 2020. Our organizations encourage the closure of Tokyo's ivory market and also recommend some actions the Tokyo Metropolitan Government should take before the ivory market can be closed, including during the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games. The letter can be viewed in English and Japanese.

Recent Press Releases

Japanese Retailers Willing to Sell Ivory Hanko for Illegal Export
12/17/2020
Investigations of Japanese hanko retailers revealed that many are willing to sell an ivory product knowing that it will be exported internationally despite most being aware that ivory export is illegal.
Tokyo urged to resurrect ivory trade assessment
06/26/2020
Elephant advocates worldwide are urging the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, under Governor Yuriko Koike’s leadership, to complete Tokyo’s elephant ivory trade assessment
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!