Instantly recognised around the world thanks to their trunks and tusks, elephants are the world's largest land animals. African elephant males are the biggest of the bunch, weighing in at up to 6 tonnes, while smaller Asian elephants can still tip the scales at 5 tonnes.
Female elephants are social animals, living in herds with their relatives. Males usually live alone but sometimes form small groups with other males. All elephants need a lot of space, sometimes roaming over incredible areas to find enough food and water to sustain them.
But their habitats are shrinking. African elephant habitat has declined by over 50% since 1979, while Asian elephants are now restricted to just 15% of their original range.
Add in growing human-wildlife conflict and an upsurge in ivory poaching in recent years and it's easy to see why elephants are under threat.
While some populations of African elephant
are secure and expanding, primarily in southern Africa, numbers are continuing to fall in other areas, particularly in central Africa and parts of East Africa. With an estimated 415,000 elephants left on the continent, the species is regarded as vulnerable, although certain populations are being poached towards extinction.
numbers have dropped by at least 50% over the last three generations, and they’re still in decline today. With only 40,000-50,000 left in the wild, the species is classified as endangered.
And it is critical to conserve both African and Asian elephants since they play such a vital role in their ecosystems as well as contributing towards tourism and community incomes in many areas.
So by helping protect elephants, we’re helping conserve their habitat, supporting local communities, and making sure natural resources are available for generations to come.