The African elephant is one of only two surviving genera of the Elephantidae family that once occurred in many parts of the earth. Genetic studies show that African elephants are actually comprised of two distinct species, Loxodonta africana (commonly referred to as savanna elephants) and Loxodonta cyclotis (commonly referred to as forest elephants). Although more closely related to the extinct mammoths, African elephants’ nearest and only surviving relatives are the Asian elephants, Elephas maximus.
Shown here, elephants roam the grasslands of the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary located in Kenya. The sanctuary is the first community-owned conservation dedicated to protecting elephants. The sanctuary minimizes conflicts among humans and wildlife, enhances the cultural and economic well-being of the community, and upholds the highest standards of environmental protection.