African elephants have a sub—Saharan distribution, with forest elephants primarily inhabiting western and central regions of Africa and savanna elephants inhabiting the eastern and southern regions.
Range States for the Forest Elephant (L.a.cyclotis)
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, C όte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Uganda.
Range States for the Savanna Elephant (L.a.africana)
Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Asian elephants inhabit the southern, eastern, and southeastern parts of Asia.
Range States for the Indian Elephant (E.m.indicus)
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Borneo (Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, and Indonesia), Cambodia, China, India, Lao PDR, peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Range States for the Sumatran Elephant (E.m.sumatrensis)
Island of Sumatra
Range States for the Sri Lankan Elephant (E.m.maximus)
The southwestern portion of Sri Lanka.
African elephants inhabit a diverse array of habitats including tropical forests, savannas, grasslands, and woodlands.
An African elephant in the grasslands of Kenya.
An African elephant family unit feeding in the savanna.
Tropical forests are characterized as having little variance in temperature (around 23°C) and length of daylight (around 12 hours). However, rainfall varies considerably in the tropics and is a primary factor as to the type of vegetation that grows in an area.
Savannas are characterized as grasslands with widely scattered trees. They generally have distinct dry and rainy seasons.
Dry Season: Usually between June and November
Rainy Season: Usually from October to December and March to June
Grasslands are characterized as having cold winter temperatures. Seasonal droughts, occasional fires, and grazing by large mammals prevent woody shrubs and trees from becoming established. Grassland soil is very nutrient rich and perennial grass roots are often deeply embedded.
Woodlands are characterized as an area covered with trees and shrubs. Woodlands differ from forests by having a large, open canopy with sunlight filtering between treetops. Forests have a largely—closed canopy in which sunlight does not readily filter through the treetops and almost continuous shade is provided.
Asian elephants primarily inhabit tropical forest habitats.