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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. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 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 more than 25 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

Celebrating the Life's Work of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Savior of Elephants in Africa
04/20/2018
Last week, the wildlife conservationist community, and more importantly the world’s elephants, lost one of their most important and avid champions when Daphne Sheldrick, savior of hundreds of orphaned African elephants, died on April 12 in Nairobi at the age of 83.
EIA Condemns Establishment of Rhino Horn Trade Desk
03/06/2018
EIA condemns the establishment of Rhino Horn Trade Africa (RHTA), an initiative launched yesterday by the South Africa-based Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA).

Recent Reports

Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project in Cook Inlet
05/11/2018
EIA letter to NOAA regarding proposed LNG Project in Cook Inlet
JAPAN’S ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE: Briefing Document for Delegates to CITES Standing Committee 69
11/27/2017
EIA's recommendations to the Standing Committee with regard to CITES Resolution Conf. 10.10 and Japan's ivory trade

Recent Press Releases

IMO Takes Major Step Towards Ending Dirty Fuel Use in the Arctic
04/13/2018
EIA hails the IMO's agreement to develop a ban on the use and carriage for use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic.
IMO Member States Must Back Ban on Heavy Fuel Oil from Arctic Shipping
04/09/2018
As a meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee opens today in London (MEPC72), the Clean Arctic Alliance called on IMO member states to support a proposal to ban heavy fuel oil (HFO) from Arctic shipping.

Recent Videos

Beluga Whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska
09/19/2017
A short video about the endangered population of beluga whales in the Cook Inlet
New York Ivory Crush
08/04/2017
New York state destroyed nearly two tons of ivory in Central Park
EIA's Focused Beluga Whale Campaign
Our beluga campaign is the only campaign in the world dedicated to protecting all 29 populations of the Arctic’s beluga whale.
Tell Yahoo! Japan to Stop Ivory Sales!
Yahoo! Japan is the largest internet seller of ivory in the world. Lend your voice and tell Yahoo! Japan to cease all ivory sales to protect elephants!
SHARE THE LATEST: The Dirty Secrets of Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade
Support Domestic Ivory Trade Bans!
Don’t Buy From Icelandic Whalers
Help EIA stop ivory trade to protect elephants!