Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Conservation status


The IUCN¹ Red List, which lists all rare species, classifies African elephants as ‘Vulnerable’.  This means the species ‘faces a high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future’.

Africa’s elephants
1900 – 10 million
1979 – 1.3 million
1989 – 600,000
2007 – 550,000;

2014 – The population could be as low if not lower than 420,000

CITES* Status:

African elephants are on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, except for Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe whose populations are on Appendix II, subject to special annotations. Appendix I includes species that are threatened with extinction and that are or may be affected by international trade. International trade in species listed on Appendix I that is ‘primarily commercial’ is prohibited. Appendix II includes species that, although not necessarily threatened with extinction, may become so unless trade is strictly regulated. Commercial international trade in Appendix II species is permitted, but is subject to strict controls.

¹International Union for Conservation of Nature
*CITES: The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is an international agreement between governments which provides varying levels of protection for species that are or may be in danger of extinction from international trade.
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