• forest elephants;
  • Loxodonta africana cyclotis;
  • Gabon;
  • shoulder height;
  • foot length;
  • boli size


The stature of forest elephants Loxodonta africana cyclotis was determined at the Petit Loango Reserve over 14 months from January to December 1998 and May to June 1999 using three measures: shoulder height, hind footprint length and boli diameter. The shoulder height of 53 identified elephants was measured using photogrammetric methods. The minimum estimated shoulder height was 69 cm from a young calf, and the tallest animal was 216 cm. Hind footprint length and boli diameter data were collected from unidentified individuals. The minimum footprint size was 12.5 cm and the largest 35.3 cm. Boli diameter ranged from 4.0 to 16.0 cm. A comparison of the size categories with those of savanna elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, suggested a similar distribution of size, age and population structure, despite a marked difference in overall stature. These are the first data for measures of African forest elephant size compared to African savanna elephant size. Such data may add morphological evidence supporting recent genetic work suggesting that African forest elephants be re-classified as a distinct species from the African savanna elephant.