About African Elephant
- African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears.
- Although they were long grouped together as one species, scientists have determined that there are actually two species of African elephants.
- Bush/Savanna elephants: They are larger animals that roam the plains of sub-Saharan Africa
- Forest elephants: They are smaller animals that live in the forests of Central and West Africa.
- African elephants are keystone species, meaning they play a critical role in their ecosystem.
- They are known as “ecosystem engineers,” elephants shape their habitat in many ways. They dig riverbeds and create watering holes many animals can drink from. Their dung is full of seeds, helping plants spread across the environment—and it makes pretty good habitat for dung beetles too.
- Elephants are matriarchal, meaning they live in female-led groups. The matriarch is usually the biggest and oldest. She presides over a multi-generational herd that includes other females, called cows, and their young.
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations.
- It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organisations and the input of more than 17,000 experts.
- This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
- Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland. IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations and plays a role in the implementation of several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity.
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, also called IUCN Red List, is one of the most well-known objective assessment systems for classifying the status of plants, animals, and other organisms threatened with extinction.
- Read more about IUCN Red list at:
Why in the News?
- Following population declines over several decades due to poaching for ivory and loss of habitat, the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is now listed as Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- Earlier, the African elephants were treated as a single species, listed as Vulnerable. First time the two species have been assessed separately for the IUCN Red List, following the emergence of new genetic evidence.