How has the population size and distribution of African Elephants changed over time and why



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    Once numbered in the millions across the continent, the African Elephant’s population is now estimated to be as low as 470,000. They are now listed as endangered due to an extreme decline in population during the second half of the 20th century.

    In 1979 there were about 1,300,000 African elephants in the wild, but by 1989 there were only 750,000. This was due mostly to poaching by people in the ivory trade. An ivory ban went into effect in the mid 1980’s, but poachers continued to hunt elephants illegally for their valuable tusks. While the ivory ban has helped to curb population decline, other factors have made it hard for African Elephants to live in the wild.

    African elephants have experienced habitat loss all over Africa. Forest elephants are threatened by the logging industry while savanna elephants have lost their habitats due to ranching and farming.

    Most African elephants now live in wildlife reserves.

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