A female forest elephant and calf walking beside water

Forest elephant

Forest elephants were thought to be a subspecies of the African elephant, but recent research has discovered that they are a separate species. Forest elephants have straighter tusks and more rounded ears than African savannah elephants. They also have five toes on the forefeet and four toes on the hindfeet, as Asian elephants do.

Forest elephants are to be found in the equatorial forests of central and west Africa where they are important dispersers of fruit seeds during the wet season. There are some forest fruit trees that are dependent on forest elephants as the seeds germinate after they have been digested and passed through.

Scientific name: Loxodonta cyclotis

Rank: Species

Common names:

African forest elephant

Watch video clips from past programmes (16 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

View all 16 video clips

Distribution

Map showing the distribution of the Forest elephant taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Forest elephant can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Habitats

The following habitats are found across the Forest elephant distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

BBC News about Forest elephant

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Timelapse photography: speeding up life Timelapse photography: speeding up life

    Some of the most memorable sequences in natural history result from timelapse photography, an astonishing filming technique that opens our eyes to a whole new world.