Based on Chris and Mathilde Stuart’s book, “Game Animals of the World,” published by African Hunting Gazette, here’s everything hunters need to know about the Forest Elephant
English: Forest elephant
Latin: Loxodonta cyclotis
French: Éléphant de forêt d’Afrique
Spanish: Elefante de la selva /Elefante africano de bosque
Tail: 1.4 m (4.6‘)
Shoulder Height: Male 2.35 m (7.7’)
Female 2.1 m (6.9‘)
Weight: Male 2 800 – 3 200 kg (6 200 – 7 000 lb)
Female 1 800 – 2 500 kg (4 000 – 5 500 lb)
Similar in overall appearance to the savanna elephant, but it is obviously smaller, has a narrower frame, ears that are smaller and more rounded, with tusks that are usually more slender, straighter and downward pointing. All these are adaptations to the dense nature of much of its forest habitat. The ivory is often discolored to shades of brown. As with their savanna-dwelling cousins, the tusks (upper incisors) grow both in length and weight throughout the animal’s life, although those of the cow develop very slowly after their 30th year. Long considered to be a subspecies of the savanna elephant, but recent genetic studies have clearly shown that it is a distinct species. The so-called pygmy elephant is merely a slightly smaller form of this species.
Restricted to the equatorial forest belt, westwards from, and including, Congo (DRC) to the Gulf of Guinea, and patchily through the remaining West African forests. Trophy hunting takes place in Cameroon.
Probably less than 100 000, and possibly considerably lower with the biggest populations located in Gabon, Congo Brazzaville and Congo (DRC). Because of the nature of its dense habitat it is notoriously difficult to arrive at accurate counts, except within very limited areas. Because of the difficulties, near impossibility, of physically counting forest elephant, all such attempted regional counts have involved recording numbers of dung piles within a given area. This in itself is fraught with difficulties and may result in over-estimation of elephant numbers in any given area. In the few studies undertaken it has been estimated that forest elephants make up between 50% and 90% of mammalian biomass in many African tropical forests. Unfortunately, in areas where they have been hunted out, this has had major negative impacts on the forests and their other creatures.
A species of the tropical forest, but they commonly frequent clearings where they feed, drink, and seek out minerals in the soils. In Gabon they commonly feed along the edge of the coastline, and have even been observed wading and bathing in the shallows.
Most observations of forest elephants have been made in forest clearings, known as bai in parts of its range, as direct observation in dense forest is extremely difficult. It is not unusual to see elephant, bongo, sitatunga, red river hogs and lowland gorillas together in the same bais. Unlike the savanna elephant they do not form into large herds, and sightings of solitary animals is much more common, although numbers do congregate in the bais. It is suspected that although foraging in the forest environment may be largely a solitary activity, loosely knit groups may remain in vocal contact over distance. The little work that has been done has shown that these elephants occupy home ranges that cover as much as 1 000 km² (386 mi²), far more than previously thought. There is also growing evidence of seasonal migrations that may be related to regional fruiting, or abundance of certain foods in different areas of the forest.
Mating season: Probably no season, but throughout the year
Gestation: Similar to savanna elephant – on average 22 months
Number of young: 1
Birth weight: <120 kg (265 lb)
Sexual maturity: Probably similar to savanna elephant, but not studied
Longevity: No records, but probably similar to savanna elephant
Wild fruits play a much more important role in the diet of the forest elephant and as such they are important dispersers of seeds, especially those of trees.
Rifles and Ammunition
Suggested Caliber: 9.3mm – .375 up. 9.3 is illegal in some countries; The .40 and larger is preferred.
Bullet: Non-expanding “solid” bullets designed for maximum penetration.
Sights: Open “express” or aperture sights preferred; low magnification scope acceptable.
Hunting Conditions: Shooting distances average 15-40 yards (14-37m).