African forest elephants roam the dense rainforests of West and Central Africa where they subsist largely on a diet of fruit. They shape forests by dispersing fruit and seeds, browsing, and creating an extensive trail network.
But because it’s difficult to track animals in thick forest, little is known about the movements of the African forest elephant. This is troubling as poaching of forest elephants for their ivory as well as habitat fragmentation have decimated their populations over the past two decades. Their numbers have reduced from 700,000 to fewer than 150,000.
On top of this, climate change might be reducing the availability of fruit in the forest, potentially leading to elephant famine. MORE
Header image: African forest elephant in Lekoli River, Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Cuvette-Ouest Region, Republic of the Congo. Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.