Richard Ruggiero/USFWS

African forest elephants face extinction from poaching and low birth rate

Extinction is racing toward the African forest elephant much more quickly than previously thought, The Guardian reports. A new study shows that poaching and habitat loss combined with the animal’s sluggish reproductive rate have cut their numbers by 60% since 2002. Female forest elephants don’t begin to reproduce until they’re 20 years old, and even then only have offspring every 5 or 6 years—that makes the species’ population growth three times slower than savanna elephants. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, explains that even if poaching is completely halted, the iconic species would need 100 years to recover from the numbers lost in the past decade.

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