ANIMAL: African Forest Elephant Loxodonta cyclotis Type of Animal: Elephant Habitat: Forests, floodplains, savanna, grasslands, plains, woodlands, marshes, swamps, river valleys, agricultural areas, shrubland, scrub forest, wetlands Location(s): W & C Africa Appearance: Smaller than larger & more famous African Bush Elephant & smaller than most Asian Elephants. Gray to gray-brown skin, bulls larger than cows, both sexes have straight tusks pointing downwards, oval-shaped ears, long trunk Food/Diet: Roots, grasses, fruit, bark, leaves, herbs, trees, salt minerals, seeds, twigs, legumes, grains, nuts, wood, stems Status in Wild: Critically Endangered Conservation: Bans on hunting in much of range, tougher measures in tackling illegal trade of ivory Lifestyle: Family herds led by dominant oldest cow (matriarch) as well as 2-7 related cows, calves, & juveniles plus a few sub-adult bulls under age of 10. Sometimes a few family herds aggregate leading to clans of up to 30 elephants. Young bulls leave family between 8 & 12 years while cows stay w/ family for life. Bulls solitary or in small bachelor herds of 2-7 animals. Additional Info: Called: Male: Bull Female: Cow Young: Calf Group: Herd Weight: Male: 4-5 tons Female: 2-2.5 tons Young: 900-1,000 lbs Gestation: Up to 2 years Life Span: 50-70 years Height: Male: 7.9-9.8 ft Female: 5.9-7.9 ft Young: 3.5 ft Body Length: Male: 10-11 ft Female: 7-10 ft Tail Length: 3-4 ft, same for both sexes Lions, crocodiles, & hyenas sometimes take adult cows but prefer juveniles & calves. Leopards & wild dogs prey on calves. Critically endangered due to hunting for ivory/meat/skin, habitat loss, deforestation, persecution as crop pests, civil unrest, & agriculture. Considered separate species from African Bush/Savanna Elephant. 1st scientific description of this species published in 1900. Called mega-gardener of forest due to large size & seed dispersal habits. Since they don’t have good eyesight, most important senses are hearing & smell. Cows sexually mature at 8 years, bulls at 10 years. Fights one of most common causes of death among bulls. A few years after reaching sexual maturity, bulls go into 1st musth (hormonal state marked by increased aggression). Bull secretes fluid from temporal gland between eye & ear & often rub head on trees/bushes to spread scent. They’re extremely aggressive & dangerous at this time. Extremely rare in captivity, w/ only few institutions holding them & much of them may be hybridized w/ bush elephants. Feet are quite sensitive, able to detect vibrations through ground. Fun Fact(s): Some people believe elephants never forget. Trunk has multiple purposes, such as smelling, grabbing things, drinking, breathing, trumpeting, & snorkeling. Much more secretive than larger cousins though cows extremely protective of calves & bulls in musth highly dangerous. People have been trampled defending land from hungry elephants.