Proud emblem of the Nigerian Police Force and also of the oldest bank in the country, most elephant populations are declining rapidly across Nigeria and the species faces an uncertain future. Once widespread across northern Nigeria the population has declined by more than 50% in less than 20 years and it is likely that fewer than 500 savanna elephants survive across the country today. Threatened by illegal hunting, habitat loss and land use changes it is widely acknowledged that hunting to supply the illegal trade in ivory has been responsible for most of this precipitous decline. Furthermore. Nigeria is widely known to function as a regional hub for the illegal trade in ivory (much of it from central Africa) and this has undoubtedly fuelled demand for ivory within the country.
Most remaining elephant populations are small, fragmented and probably not viable in the long term. Reliable up to date information about many of these small herds is generally lacking. It is known that a small herd of elephants survives in the region around Kwiambana Game Reserve and Kamuku National Park in northern Nigeria. Small migratory groups of elephants may still move between Nigeria and the Baban Rafi forest in Niger, between Faro National Park in Cameroon and Gashaka-Gumti National Park in Nigeria and between Waza National Park in Cameroon and Chad Basin National Park in Nigeria though these movements are unconfirmed. However the largest and perhaps the only viable herd remaining in the country is located at Yankari Game Reserve where an estimated 300-350 elephants survive.