African Elephant, By Ingrid Vekemans, Haacht, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium

African Elephant

Loxodonta africana

Learn more about Loxodonta africana from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Tsavo East National Park,
Near Voi, Kenya
By Ingrid Vekemans
Haacht, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium

Ingrid Vekemans

Years ago, poaching and the ivory trade were the biggest threats to the survival of the largest living land mammal—the African elephant. Fortunately, ivory bans, hunting regulations, and protected areas help safeguard elephants. Today, elephants roam vast territories across borders and outside of protected areas. While the overall population has shrunk to half of what it was 40 years ago, some regions of Africa have more elephants than populated areas can support. The African Wildlife Foundation aims to find ways to enable elephants to roam through their natural habitats while co-existing peacefully with humans.

“While observing elephants in Tsavo, I was focused on an older female—the matriarch of the group. Her raised head and spread ears showed her alert and watchful. The challenge was to capture the moment of eye contact in a sharp close-up before she moved on. Because her skin was so dark, I turned the ISO up to increase the shutter speed.” —IV

Nikon D300; AF-S VR 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens; 1/640 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 400; beanbag.