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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

Shop on Amazon Smile and Donate to EIA
11/30/2021
Amazon Smile is a website owned and operated by Amazon.com that allows online shoppers to select a charitable organization to receive 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases when they shop. Now that EIA is enrolled in the program, you can show your support...
Room for Improvement: Using DNA Analysis to Address Rhino Horn Trafficking
09/22/2021
Law enforcement officials from around the world have seized illegal supplies of rhino horn at least once a week on average for the past 10 years. The type of seizure ranges widely. It could be a pair of fresh horns confiscated from poachers who just gunned down a rhino inside a national park. Or possibly dozens of horns were discovered cleverly hidden in an air cargo shipment. Sometime it’s just a few grams of powdered horn found in a traveler’s luggage. Maybe a mix of raw and carved horns was seized after a police raid on a trafficker’s home.

Recent Reports

Five Years of Failure
01/19/2022
A review of the effectiveness of the US Government recovery plan for critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales
Petition to Cap Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Take Authorizations and for Associated Actions and Rulemaking
01/19/2022
Five Years of Failure: A review of the effectiveness of the US Government recovery plan for critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales

Recent Press Releases

Five Years of Failure
01/19/2022
A review of the effectiveness of the US Government recovery plan for critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales
Indonesia President Urged to Take Immediate Action to Protect Orangutans
10/29/2021
Indonesia’s president must act now to prevent the irreversible decline of Asia’s only great ape, warns a new report by the Washington, DC-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). EIA’s report reveals that Indonesia’s orangutan population is on a steady march to extinction due to a combination of habitat loss, illegal killings, and wildfires. In just four years, from 2016-2019, more than 1.825 million acres of intact orangutan forest was deforested according to EIA’s analysis. EIA’s findings are alarming in light of a 2018 study that found the island of Borneo alone lost an estimated 148,500 orangutans between 1999 to 2015.
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