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Wildship

Queen Elizabeth, Uganda

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pomkiwi

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Elephants at the Bush House, Madikwe, South Africa. Processed into high key black and white as it was close to midday on a cloudless autumn day - the light was not great!

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PHALANX

An overcast afternoon on Ol Pejeta.

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The_Norwegian

Just wonderful and scenic :-) I am counting the last 8 days now until depature to my next Africa-adventure! 

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PHALANX

Ol Pejeta conservancy

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PHALANX

Samburu reserve Kenya

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PHALANX

Masai Mara

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Tom Kellie

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Who Needs Botox?

 

 
~ Photographed with a Canon EOS 1D X camera mounted with an EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II super-telephoto lens, hand-held, Manual shooting mode.
 
In Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, on 29 April, 2014 at 9:20 am, ISO 200, f/5, 1/400 sec.
 
 
*****************************************************
 
The intersecting lines expressing the high degree of flexibility in elephant muscles results in a beautiful texture.
 
 

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SAFARILEGEND

Tarangire TZ is a great place for Elephants :)

 

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melproffit

Botswana 2006

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inyathi

Compare and contrast, savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) versus forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis)

 

I’ve already posted quite a few shots of forest elephants in this thread taken in Gabon, followed by savanna elephants taken in Zakouma, after I visited Uganda last year, I intended to add a post with a couple of shots from there, showing a forest elephant and a savanna elephant for direct comparison, but then never got around to it. Then more recently I thought that perhaps I should add a post showing multiple photos of both species together, rather than post them separately as I have done before and thus show a direct comparison between forest and savanna elephants including animals that may be hybrids. In parts of Africa well away from the rainforests of Central and West Africa you can be confident that all elephants that you see, should be 100% pure savanna elephants, while at the same time when you venture into the rainforests and savanna/forest mosaic habitats of Gabon, you can be pretty confident that what you are seeing are 100% pure forest elephants, in that there are obviously no forest elephants in Namibia or Zimbabwe and there are no savanna elephants in Gabon. However, in countries where both species naturally occur and would have in the past had overlapping ranges, then it’s perhaps not quite so easy to be completely sure, that you’re not looking at hybrid animals.  Some the savanna elephants I saw on my recent visit to Mole National Park in Ghana, looked to me as if perhaps they might have some forest genes in them, that they were descended from a hybrid population, because the park is not a huge distance north of the Upper Guinea Rainforest that is home to forest elephants. Whether they are hybrids I'm not sure, I don't what if any genetic studies may have been carried out.

@douglaswise    @Safaridude 

 

The main obvious difference between the two is that the forest elephant is noticeably smaller than a full-grown savanna elephant, it has smaller rounder ears, its skin is smoother less wrinkled and the tusks are generally thinner not so curved and tend to point almost straight downwards. Also, curiously the savanna elephant has fewer toenails, the forest elephant has five on the front feet and four on the back feet. The larger Savanna elephant has four or sometimes five on the front feet and only three on the back. I've not personally studied their feet closely enough to have noticed this difference.

 

I thought I’d start off with some shots of elephants head on, to compare the shape of their ears, head and tusks as well as the difference in size, and then I’ll add another post showing elephants side on.      

 

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Savanna elephant, Katavi National Park, Tanzania

 

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Forest elephant Loango National Park in Gabon

 

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Savanna elephant bull in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

 

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Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe

 

The first forest elephant shown above was I would think relative;y small, you can clearly see the difference in the size and shape of its ears compared to the savanna elephant from Katavi, and the difference in the shape and angle of the tusks compared to the two Zimbabwean savanna elephants.

 

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Radio collared, forest elephant in the mangroves, Loango National Park in Gabon

 

The ears of the forest elephant cow above aren't as rounded as the first forest elephant or the two below, but the tusks are certainly very thin, perhaps the ears aren't as round because she is older, I'm not sure.

 

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Forest elephant by the Atlantic Ocean, Loango National Park in Gabon

 

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Forest elephant by the Atlantic Ocean Loango National Park in Gabon

 

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Savanna elephant bull in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe 

 

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Forest elephant, sitatunga and cattle egrets at Langoue Bai in Ivindo National Park in Gabon

 

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Savanna elephant calf, Ndutu Ngorongoro Conservation Area Tanzania

 

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Savanna elephant, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

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Savanna elephant, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

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Savanna elephant bull, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

 

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Savanna elephants, Mole Motel, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

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Desert adapted elephant on the Huab River in Damaraland in Namibia

 

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Savanna elephant, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

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Niassa Reserve, Mozambique

 

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Savanna elephant, Mole Motel, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

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Savanna elephants coming down to the Nile, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

 

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Desert adapted elephant Huab River Damaraland in Namibia

 

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Savanna elephant, Mole Motel, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

The ears of the Mole elephant above seem a little more rounded and perhaps not quite as big as is typical for a savanna elephant and the tusks are rather straight and downward pointing certainly compared to the next elephant, does this indicate a hybrid origin? I'm not sure, some of the photos that I will put in my next post, will certainly show animals that I think show evidence of some degree of hybridisation.  

 

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Niassa Reserve, Mozambique

 

Will add another post comparing savanna and forest elephants in due course.

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wilddog

@inyathi interesting comparisons but do you not think the angle of the head makes the appearance of the ears differ, due to the amount of alarm or threat they wish to display?

 

I do think that too that the floppiness of the top part of the ear does change with age. 

 

I have no scientific basis for my comments; purely my thoughts on the matter. 

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inyathi

@wilddog in the following photos the difference in ear size is very apparent, but certainly the angle of the head does make a difference.

 

Compare and contrast, savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) versus forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) continued

 

It was really the first two photos taken in Uganda that made me think of posting some comparison shots between savanna and forest elephants.

 

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Bull savanna elephant, Narus Valley, Kidepo National Park, Uganda by inyathi, on Flickr

 

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Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve in Uganda

 

Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is an interesting place because it has both species of elephants there and hybrids, during my visit I only photographed one elephant, which I understood at the time was a forest elephant, I didn't see any savanna elephants, however when I posted the shot above in another thread @jack suggested this was a hybrid. The difference between this animal and the bull from Kidepo which is certainly a savanna elephant is pretty obvious, but having compared this animal to a forest bull from Gabon in the shot below, I can see enough of a difference that I think that it probably is a hybrid.  

 

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Forest elephant bull, Langoue Bai, Ivindo National Park in Gabon

 

One of the characteristic of savanna elephants that distinguishes them is that they are much more heavily wrinkled, that is well illustrated by these two bulls from Katavi

 

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Savanna elephant bulls, Katavi National Park, Tanzania

 

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Presumably elephants do also get more wrinkled with age,  the following  Zimbabwean bull doesn't seem as wrinkled but then it has just been wallowing so does have fresh mud on it.

 

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Savanna elephant bull in Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe[

 

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Forest elephant in Loango National Park in Gabon

 

This forest elephant is the same one seen in the second photo in the previous post, in both shots it looks pretty small but then has reasonable sized tusks suggesting it can't be that young.

 

Having said that savanna elephants are more wrinkled and likely get more wrinkled with age these two savanna bulls from Gonarezhou don't look nearly so wrinkled as those Katavi bulls

 

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Bull savanna elephant in Gonarezhou National Park

 

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Savanna elephant bull in Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe

 

Or as wrinkled as this presumably much younger animal in Zakouma

 

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Elephants in Zakouma National Park in Chad

 

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Forest elephants by the sea, Loango National Park in Gabon

 

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Desert adapted elephants Huab River in Damaraland Namibia

 

 

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Forest elephant at the beach in Loango National Park in Gabon

 

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Forest elephants by the Atlantic Ocean, Loango National Park in Gabon

 

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Savanna elephant at Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania

 

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Forest elephant Loango National Park

 

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Savanna elephants drinking in Hwange NP in Zimbabwe

 

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Savana elephant reflection, Hwange National Park Zimbabwe

 

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Forest elephant by the beach Loango National Park in Gabon

 

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Forest elephant in Loango National Park in Gabon

 

The following shots are all from Mole National Park in Ghana, although the elephants in the park are savanna elephants I think that some of the animals do look as though they may not be 100% pure savanna elephants, but I don't know if anyone has looked at the genetics of these elephants. It may be that they are just savanna elephants and that I'm imagining that what is actually just normal variation is evidence of hybridisation, just because I know they are living in an area where hybridisation would have been possible not so long ago.   

 

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Savanna elephant, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

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Savanna elephants at the Mole Motel, Mole National Park, Ghana

 

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This animal for example doesn't look to me like a typical savanna elephant

 

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I will likely add a few more photos at some point.

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wilddog

Thanks for you comment above @inyathi and the subsequent series of photographs. 

 

The 'wrinkles' issue would not be surprising really in that, presumably, the forest elephants spend much less time out in the sun?

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