The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List with around 415,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild; but luckily they currently have an increasing population trend.
HABITAT, DIET AND BEHAVIOUR
You can find African Elephants in dense forest, open and closed savannah and grasslands. Elephants are herbivorous and can eat up to 300 pounds of vegetation in a day. The bulk of their diet is made up of grasses, fruits, roots and bark. Elephants are social animals and live in small family groups which are made up of an older matriarch and several generation of female relatives. Males are relatively solitary either living alone or in small groups of three to four bulls.
Historically poaching for ivory and meat was the biggest threat to the survival of the African Elephant; and although poaching is still a significant factor with around 8% of elephants killed a year it is no longer classed as the major driving force. Currently, the most important threat comes from the loss and fragmentation of habitat, which is caused by human population expansion and rapid land conversion.
The African Elephant has been listed on CITES Appendix I since 1989. Conservation measures include habitat management and the protection of individuals through law enforcement. Ironically, the sport hunting of elephants has led to an increased tolerance of elephants, reducing the number of deaths from conflicts with humans.
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