In a new paper led by Mara Elephant Project‘s Director of Research and Conservation Dr. Jake Wall, new research has found that while elephants can live almost anywhere in Africa, their range is restricted by the growing human footprint and the available protected areas.
* In antiquity, elephants likely were extant across nearly the entire continent.
* Human activity largely shapes the behaviour and distribution of modern elephants.
* 62 % of Africa has suitable habitat for elephants, but the animals use just 17% of that habitat and are absent – for now – in the remaining 83%.
* Savannah elephants have larger ranges than forest elephants.
* Males of both savannah and forest elephants have larger ranges than females.
* Approximately 57% of the elephant range is currently outside of protected areas.
* Out of all the factors influencing elephant range, it is human influence and the amount of protected area that had the greatest effect.
* Both an ethic of human-elephant coexistence, and effective protected areas, are essential to securing their future.