African elephants once lived throughout Africa; they now inhabit no more than one-third of the continent and are gone from the Sahara. Over the past 150 years, ivory hunters have ruthlessly hunted them for their tusks. Between 1979 and 1989, Africa's elephant population plummeted from 1,300,000 animals to 750,000, due mostly to ivory hunting. Since the 1980s, an international ban on trade in ivory has helped many populations hold steady or rebound.
However, African elephants have lost much of their habitat to ranches, farms, and desertification. The forest elephant, always far less common than the savanna subspecies, is under threat from logging and market hunting for its meat. African elephants are now found mostly in reserves. In some parks, confined elephant populations have major impacts on habitat, changing open forests into grasslands.
When you compare the two species of elephants you will notice quite a few differences among them.
There are some sub species in each of these groups to mention. With the Asian elephants there are the Indian, Sri Lanka, Sumatran, and Borneo which is also called the Pygmy. Researchers are still conducting testing right now but there is a theory that a 5th sub species does exist……bit like the yeti….?
Genus and Species: eg. Loxodonta africana
Stay tuned as from tomorrow onwards, O2E celebrates Elephant Week!