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African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

African elephant
African elephantAfrican elephantAfrican elephantAfrican elephant

Your Zoo partners with the International Elephant Foundation (IEF). IEF works to create a sustainable future for elephants through conservation, education, research and animal management programs worldwide.

Visit www.elephantconservation.org for more on IEF.

Personal Information
Genny C and Lilac are our two female elephants from South Africa. They were born in 1977 and 1978 and acquired by the Zoo in 1979. Lilac has a hole in her left ear flap, and Genny C has larger tusks. Both can respond to and understand more than 50 verbal commands! According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2005), they are the only African elephants in New York.

Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Vulnerable. The biggest threats to African elephants are the ivory trade and habitat destruction. Poaching for meat and ivory significantly reduced the population of African elephants in the 20th century. The African elephant has governmental protection, but such poaching is still a serious threat to the species. In Africa, some people have resorted to culling large amounts of elephants to help sustain the ecosystem and reduce the elephant population. The Seneca Park Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan for the African elephant.

Habitat
African elephants, like those that live at the Seneca Park Zoo, can be found in open forests and grasslands in Africa.

Diet
Elephants eat leaves, branches, fruit and grasses. They consume 300 pounds of food and 50 gallons of water every day.

  • African elephants stand 8- to 12-feet tall at the shoulder and weigh between 7,000 and 12,000 pounds.
  • African elephants have characteristically larger ears and tusks compared to the smaller species, the Asian elephant.
  • An elephant’s tusks are also its teeth. One important use for the tusks is digging for water. They are used for digging for roots and stripping the bark off trees for food, for fighting each other during mating season, and for defending themselves against predators.
  • A group of elephants is a herd consisting of females, young males and calves. This group is considered matriarchal, led by the oldest female.
  • At birth, a baby elephant, called a calf, weighs approximately 200 pounds and will nurse for about 4 years.