Appendix I,II


Loxodonta africana

Common Names
African Elephant, African Savannah Elephant, Afrikaanse olifant, Afrikanischer Elefant, Afrikannorsu, afrikansk elefant, Domrey, Elefant, Elefantas, Elefante, Elefante africano, Elefantti, Eléphant africain, Eléphant d'Afrique, Elevant, Fel, Fil, Fill, Haathi, Hathis, Ndovo, Norsu, Olifant, Piugh, Slon, Tembo

Loxodonta cyclotis

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Weight at birth c. 110 kg, shoulder height c. 95 cm.


Enormous, up to 1.50 m from top to bottom, triangular in shape, the upper edge tends to flop over with increasing age.

General Appearance
The largest terrestrial mammal. The outline of the back is convex, the highest points of the silhouette being the withers and the loins.

Large, but relatively smaller than in the Asian species. Forehead receding, sometimes with a median hump.

Usually four nails on each fore foot, three on each hind foot.

Height at shoulder in males up to 4 m (usually 3.20 to 3.50 m), head body length (including trunk) 6.00 to 7.50 m, tail 1.00 to 1.30 m.

Sexual Dimorphism
Females are smaller (average shoulder height c. 2.85 m) and lighter (18 years old females at Basle Zoo: 2600, 3000, 3200 kg) than males. Tusks smaller, weight up to 18 kg, average 7 kg.

Wrinkled. Dull brownish grey, sparsely scattered with black bristly hairs.

Subspp Described
Loxodonta africana africana

Massive, with prominent transversal muscular rings. Tip with two prehensile lips.

Visible tusks in both sexes. Massive, curved, and forward projecting. Length up to 350 cm, weight up to 107 kg, but average much smaller and lighter.

Exceeding 7 tons in old males (15 years (Basle Zoo): 3500 kg, 18 years Basle Zoo): 4280 kg, 26 years, (Hannover Zoo): 6600 kg, record bull from Angola 12,000 kg).

Intraspecific Variation
There are two clearly distinct types of African elephants (with intergradations): The Savannah or Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) which is divided into several subspecies by some authors:
L.a. oxyotis: northern savannah,
L.a. orleansi: Somalia and Ethiopia,
L.a. knochenhaueri: eastern savannah,
L.a. africana: southern savannah;
Forest Elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis): Height at shoulder: males c. 2.00 to 2.10 m, ears smaller but relatively broader than in savannah elephant. Tusks slender, rather straight, projecting downwards. Usually five nails on each fore foot and four on each hind foot. Skin smoother than in the savannah elephant. Juveniles at birth c. 76 cm shoulder height.

Similar Species
Elephas maximus (sheet A

Peter Dollinger, Berne

Peter Dollinger, Berne

Submitted By
Management Authority of Switzerland


Savannah elephants are frequently kept in zoos and safari parks, and occasionally in circuses. The captive population is not self-sustaining. Outside of Zaire, there are only 6 captive forest elephants in 5 collections (year 1981).

Savannah elephants: about 800,000 in 1979.
Forest elephants: The equatorial forest, covering more than one-third of the current elephant habitat, was estimated to contain at least 400,000 elephants in 1979, and possibly as many as 3,000,000.
The most important elephant populations are located in Zaire (400,000 +), Tanzania (160,000) and Sudan (130,000 +).

Anonymous (1982) Elephants and Thinos in Africa. IUCN. Gland.
Dorst, J. & Dandelot, P. (1970) A Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa. London.
Ricciuti, E.R. (1980) Th eIvory War. Animal Kingdom 83, No. 1.

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