African forest Elephant

African Forest elephants

There are three species of elephant, the African savanna elephant, African forest elephant and the Asian elephant

With the African species, Forest elephants have declined 86% between 1986 and 2015, African Bush elephants declined 60% 1965 and 2015 leaving just over 400,000. African forest elephants are thought to number between 100,000 and 150,000.

Perhaps the most scary fact is that the African forest elephant was only declared as a separate species in 2021 only 2 years ago. These species are not particularly similar – indeed the Asian elephant is more genetically similar to the mammoth, than the African savannah elephant is to the African forest elephant

The African forest elephants population has declined precipitably in the last few years. Given the recognition that the forest elephant is a separate species only came 2 years ago, it is hard to get accurate historic figures. Never-the-less, the combined african elephant species population was thought to be around 26 million in 1800, and 1.34 million in 1976. The estimate is currently around 100-200,000 forest elephants. One of the problems, is that the African forest elephant is an essential part of the ecosystem. There are many trees, which rely on forest elephants to carry their seeds through the forest, so that they germinate a good distance from the original plant (more than a few of the same plant in the same area, causes the pest that feeds on the tree to multiply to the point where it can kill the tree. While it is true that other animals like gorillas and chimpanzees can do this, they do it far less. Should the forest elephant be lost, the African rainforest is likely to be far less capable of of handling the various changes, like climate change that is coming.

The last strongholds are in Gabon (a survey last year suggested Gabon has 95,000 forest elephants, rather than the 60,000 that was originally thought) and the Republic of the Congo and Democratic republic of the Cong, with smaller populations remaining in other African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea) and Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Ghana in west Africa. There is much space for forest elephants to greatly recover, if the poaching is able to stop.

Below this, you will see a video on this species, and below this is a list of any times that the african forest elephant has been mentioned within this blog.

Below this, at the bottom of the page, we hope to list places where you can go to see this species in the wild – if you work in conservation or tourism around this species, do get in touch. we would love to list you, and it costs nothing to be listed, we merely work on commission.

African Savannah

African Savannah animals

The aim here is not to give you the number of every species that exists in each reserve. Rather, the aim is to give you a rough idea of the health and size of each reserve. In places where there are private reserves on the edge of a larger reserve, complete ecosystem numbers will be given. Please note that they will not be precise, as even straight after a thorough count numbers are only estimates – furthermore, some reserves do not publicize their numbers.

The grid of animals that I have included above are as follows (below):

African wild dog Black rhino White rhino(Really wide rhino) Elephant Buffalo Giraffe Zebra Cheetah Hippopotamus Lion Hyena Leopard

This is going to be the standard animals for Savannah ecosystems within Africa, however each different Biome will have different species so there will be a variety of these pages. I will give you brief information on each. In the long-run we hope to have animal pages for each and these will be linked from the Bold animal names. Those not bold not not yet have a link page. At the bottom of each animals page is a list of places which you can book to see the animal in question; each currently have at least a few choices, but I hope to be able to direct to many more as time moves forwards.

African wild dog (or sometimes known as Cape hunting dog or painted dog). This animal is an incredible sighting if you get lucky. Now, they live at low densities, so are generally found in the largest reserves. If a reserve still has African wild dog, it is clear that the reserve is in pretty good health (usually). Furthermore, as they are very susceptible to various diseases that domestic dogs can carry (such as canine distemper) – this wiped out the population in the Serengeti in 1995. Thankfully, wild dogs have returned to the Serengeti, though currently only 100 or so are in the ecosystem – meaning it is unlikely that you will see them here. Any sighting is a wonderful thing. Member of ecotourism big 7

Black and White Rhino Two different species, Black rhino had a far larger range, unfortunately they are highly endangered across most of their range. White rhino, once found in central Africa (there are now only 2 of these animals left, held at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya) are now only found in Southern Africa – South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Kruger, once hosted as much as 10,000 or more white rhino, but now only have about 3000. Note: white rhino appears to be a mistranslation from the Africaans Weit, meaning wide, these rhino are not white. Pictures are Black then white rhino. Member of big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Elephant One of the species that so many people visit Africa for, the Savannah African elephant is doing okay, though the populations is far below historical levels. Places like the Selous (now much of this reserve is Nyerere National park) lost perhaps 80% of there historical elephant population. Encouragingly, if the poaching stops the population often rapidly recovers. The African forest elephant has seen horrific poaching over the last few decades, and without a rapid change this species might be heading for extinction (the African forest elephant is closer related to the Mammoth than the African Savannah elephant. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big7.

Buffalo: A member of the big 5, the buffalo is essentially a wild cattle species. They are a member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7. The big 5 is so named because these were the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Buffalo are often the species which you are likely to have encounters with if you go walking on foot.

Lion Often referred to as the King of the Jungle (despite not being found in jungles), is generally considered the apex predator. Certainly a wonderful thing to see, never-the-less they do not get their own way all the time. The population of Lions in Africa has seen precipice falls in the last century, and this has not stopped. Tourism is one tool we have to give them financial value to those who share their space with them. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Giraffe: While this is a species that is found in the majority of Southern and Eastern African reserves, they are officially classed as endangered, as their population is currently falling so fast. The selous in Tanzania is nicknamed the Griraffe park as there are so many of them.

Zebra are also found in most reserves in Africa, though the number of them is still of interest.

Cheetah Like African Wild dog are a key indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Living at low densities in most reserves (except in places like the Serengeti plains). These are rare sightings, and most reserves do not have many cheetah. Indeed of all the big species, the cheetah is one of the few predators who do better outside reserves.

Hippopotamus: This is another species that does reasonably well outside protected reserves, but their population has fallen fast over the last few years.

Lion Lions are a very clear indication of the health of each ecosystem. If there is a significant population of Lion, then it is a large reserve and therefore there is plenty of space for other species. Check our links at the bottom of the lion page for some of the best place to see them.

Hyena There are thought to be more than 100,000 spotted hyena in Africa, making them the most numerous predator on the continent. They are exciting animals to see, and their call is often one of the species that you hear from your campsite – the weird rising whoop which is the contact call they use between them. Watch the video below to see what I mean. The advantage of the population size is that you are likely to find them in most wilderness areas. Brown hyenas are also widely found, never the less, as they do not do well in close proximity to spotted hyenas which means they are more often found on the edge of reserves and outside them.

Leopard The last member of the big 5 and Ecotourism big 7, the Leopard is a fascinating species. A solitary animal (except mothers with their young) they are the only big cat, or indeed member of the big 5 that is reguarly found outside protected reserves, though this is decreasing over time. A fantastic sighting, they can be very hard to find, and sightings in big reserves are usually very crowded. Generally found near river courses, as these are the places where large trees are found, allowing the Leopard to rest out of danger.

Could mammoth help us fight climate change

Roughly speaking, there is 3000 billion tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere. This is a huge number, but then we have to remember that this is higher than at any other time in human history. Before humans were on the planet, there were time periods where carbon concentrations in the atmosphere were dramatically higher.

While rainforest hold large amounts of carbon, so do bogs. Having lost most of its mega fauna, the colder regions of the planet do not function as they should, so these

However, the problem is that there is thought to be roughly 1600 billion tonnes locked in the permafrost around the world. If global warming continues, this permafrost will melt and release its carbon stores – increasing the carbon concentration by around 50%.

This is obviously a point at which a significant amount of planet warming will be inescapable.

So what needs to happen?

In the past great mammals behaved in such ways that it largely kept this carbon locked in the soil. There were far fewer trees, vast grasslands often covering bogs.

If mammoths were to return, perhaps alongside woolly rhinoceros and bison the same processes could return allowing a far greater quantity of carbon to remain in the permafrost soil.

Will this happen? Who knows, though with the increasing quantity of carbon known to be locked in the Siberian soil, it seems worth giving it a go.

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