African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis)

The third largest mammal in the world, second to the African Bush (Savanna) Elephant and the Asian Elephant (not the same species as the latter). The African Forest Elephant is thought to have evolved from the African Bush Elephant, several million years ago, due to the habitat they live in. The African Forest Elephant has five, against four, toes on the front foot and four, against three, on its rear foot. They also have straight tusks, against curved and more rounded ears. There are also differences in both the size and shape of the skulls.

After 22 months gestation, a single calf is born. Births occur throughout the year. Elephants are at their most fertile between the ages of 25 and 45. The calves are cared for by their mother and other young females in the group, known as allomothers. Males grow to approximately 8' (2.5 metres) at the shoulder and weigh 500stone (3,200kgs). Females grow to approximately 8' (2.5 metres) at the shoulder and weigh 375 stone (2,250kgs). They live for up to 60 years, due to their receiving 6 sets of teeth (one every 10 years), after which, they starve to death. They have four molars, for chewing, each weighing 11lb (5kg) and as they break down and fall out, new ones appear from behind.

The African Forest Elephant has no regular predator, except man, through poaching. Although there are few Forest Elephants in Kenya and they mostly live in protected parks. In Shimba Hills, a completely fenced park, with only a corridor to a sanstuary, there has been few problems with poaching. The reverse is true and KWS have migrated a number to Tsavo National Park.
Sometimes, Hyena or Lion will take calves, although this is rare, due to the Forest Elephant's protective nature.

In Africa, it is generally accepted that around 30% of all Elephants are the darker coloured Forest Elephants. The remainder being Bush Savanna) Elephants.
Unlike Bush Elephants, African Forest Elephant do not herd. They are mostly seen in pairs or groups of up to eight, usually all female. Males wander from group to group, waiting for a female to come into season.
A Forest Elephant's tusks are constantly growing, although they wear down with use. They are not only used for fighting, but are useful tools for digging up sweet shoots and pushing over small trees. The African Forest El;ephant's grow straight downwards; the Bush Elephant's tusks are curved forwards.
Like its larger cousin, its trunk features tens of thousands of muscles and is extremely sensitive, enabling it to smell, drink and dust itself. As well as using it for eating, it comes into operation when fighting.

African Forest Elephants are conditioned to eating the fruits, leaves and bark of the woodlands they live in. The fruit seeds are passed through their systems and are replanted in other areas, making them 'forest gardeners'.

Photographed in Kenya's Shimba Hills, situated inland from Mombasa.

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African Forest Elephant ~ In Forest

African Forest Elephants, running in woodland.