New family of Critically Endangered forest elephants spotted, including
three babies (Guinea)
Megan Shersby, Discover Wildlife
July 27, 2021
Conservationists at Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Centre Forestier
N’Zérékoré are celebrating after their camera traps captured footage of a
family of African forest elephants in the Ziama Forest in Guinea.
The family had not been seen before by any of the local team, and included
three calves. It is thought that less than two dozen African forest
elephants are thought to remain in the country, and that the species may be
on the brink of local extinction.
However the footage of this new family suggests that the species could be
beginning to recover, thanks to the protection of its forest habitat. It is
believed that this family has crossed into Guinea from neighbouring Liberia.
“You never know what you’re going to get when you put out camera traps and
go through the images – but three forest elephant calves in one group was
amazing to see,” says Neus Estela Ribera, FFI’s landscape manager in Guinea.
“This is likely a new group that has come across the border from Liberia.
The fact that there are three young elephants with them is a great sign, as
it suggests the population is growing because their forest habitat in this
area of Guinea has been better protected.”
The African forest elephant was only recently confirmed as a separate
species to the African savanna elephant, being smaller and inhabiting
Earlier this year, the IUCN Red List assessed the two as separate species
for the first time, with the African forest elephant classified as
Critically Endangered and the African savannah elephant classified as
The decline of both species has been driven by poaching for ivory and
FFI has been working in Guinea in 2009 to reduce human-wildlife conflict
and deforestation, and no elephants have been poached in the area since
As part of the work, conservationists have been analysing water and soil
samples using technology to find environmental DNA (eDNA). A recent survey
revealed 112 different species.