Learn about three things that are affecting the lifespan of elephants.

Three things shortening the lifespan of an elephant

A common question people ask is how long do African elephants live? The typical lifespan of an elephant can be up to 70 years in the wild. Factors such as poaching, human conflicts, and infertility in zoos have played roles in why the elephant population has decreased so rapidly. Not only is it becoming rarer to see elephants in the wild, but it’s also becoming more difficult to see them in zoos. Our elephant nonprofit team wants to share what is causing the elephant population to rapidly decline and what you can do to help.


African forest elephants are considered critically endangered, this is the last level before extinction. The highest risk elephants endure is poaching because their ivory tusks make them more vulnerable. China is the largest consumer of ivory and uses it for many products such as jewelry. 

Poaching has long-term effects on the elephant population. Orphaned elephants have a lower rate of survival in a herd and losing them in a herd makes an impact on the population.

Elephant-human conflicts

Humans play a role in the population decline of elephants, and as much as humans can play a role in saving elephants, people also need to be aware of what they do that hurts elephants. 

An example of something humans are doing to negatively impact elephants is deforestation. However, Elephant conservations are beneficial to the population due to proper habitats, fight diseases and help with reproduction. 

Infertility in zoos 

How long do African elephants live in zoos? Female elephants in zoos only live for, on average, 19 years. Believe it or not, elephants have certain health requirements that need to be met in order to have a healthy pregnancy. This is true for elephants both in the wild and in zoos. 

In the wild this can be easier to accommodate largely due to space, activity level and diet. In zoos, an elephant's activity level is limited and although they are huge creatures, their diet is important. Elephants can become overweight, which also plays a role in infertility. For Elephants offers a program for zoos to educate them on how to care and help elephants with reproduction to help increase the population. 

Support an elephant nonprofit today!

Help support the elephants and the For Elephants program by joining ‘Herd of Heroes’. Through this program, you can give a monthly donation of your choosing to help us provide care for elephants in zoos. Through this care, elephants receive special care services and reproduction services to help fight extinction. Join down below!

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