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Pygmys elephants in Sangha National Park (Central African Republic). They are smaller than their cousins from savannas; they adapted their shape to live in dense forests of central Africa.
The African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) was until recently considered a subspecies of the African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana); however, DNA testing has now shown that there are in fact three extant elephant species: the two African types (formerly considered to be separate populations of a single species, the African Elephant) and the South Asian species, known as the Indian or Asian Elephant. The North African elephant of Hannibal fame was a now-extinct fourth species or a subspecies of the Forest Elephant (Loxodonta (africana) pharaoensis); it disappeared around the 1st or 2nd century CE. The disputed Pygmy Elephants of the Congo basin, often assumed to be a separate species (Loxodonta pumilio) by cryptozoologists, are probably Forest Elephants whose diminutive size and/or early maturity is due to environmental conditions.

Differences include the African Forest Elephant's long, narrow mandible (the African Bush Elephant's is short and wide), its rounded ears (an African Bush Elephant's ears are more pointed), different tusks, and considerably smaller size. The Male African Forest Elephant rarely exceed 2.5 metres (8 feet) in height, while the African Bush Elephant is usually over 3 metres (just under 10 feet) and sometimes almost 4 metres (13 feet) tall.
Late in the 20th century, conservation workers established a DNA identification system to trace the origin of poached ivory. It had long been known that the ivory of the African Forest Elephant was particularly hard, with a pinkish tinge, and straight (whereas that of the African Bush Elephant is curved). The DNA tests, however, indicated that the two populations were much more different compared with previously appreciated—indeed, in its genetic makeup, the African Forest Elephant is almost two-thirds as distinct from the African Bush Elephant as the Asian Elephant is.
(Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Alberto Piubello (albertopiubello) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 331 W: 41 N: 881] (2623)
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