There are two sub-species of African Elephant including the African Savanna Elephant and the African Forest Elephant, who’s ancestral lineages began diverging approximately 6 million years ago.
HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
These sub-species are differentiated by their size, with African Forest Elephants being half the size of their Savanna relatives. African Forest Elephants also have more oval-shaped ears and straighter, slightly-downwards pointing tusks, in comparison to Savanna Elephants who’s tusks curve outwards. There are also differences in the size and shape of their skeletons and skulls for each sub-species.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT POPULATION
As many as 10 million African Elephants roamed over the continent of Africa in 1930. However, due to countless decades of poaching and human conflicts, the population of African Elephants declined to just 415,000 in 2016, with a decline of 111,000 Elephants in just one decade. African Forest Elephants suffered a greater population loss than their Savanna relatives, which is particularly concerning due to the slower rate of reproduction of Forest Elephants meaning they cannot easily bounce back from periods of population declines.