Forest elephants are an elusive subspecies of African elephants and inhabit the densely wooded rainforests of west and central Africa. Their preference for dense forest habitat prohibits traditional counting methods such as visual identification. Their population is usually estimated through “dung counts”—an analysis on the ground of the density and distribution of the feces.
Forest elephants are smaller than savanna elephants, the other African elephant subspecies. Their ears are more oval-shaped ears and their tusks are straighter and point downward (the tusks of savanna elephants curve outwards). There are also differences in the size and shape of the skull and skeleton. Forest elephants are found most commonly in countries with relatively large blocks of dense forest such as Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon and Central African Republic in central Africa and Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Ghana in west Africa.
- Height: 8-10 feet
- Weight: 2-5 tons
- Habitat: Dense tropical forests