African elephants’ climate sensitivity also comes from the fact that they use environmental cues to guide their migration patterns, as they migrate to find suitable water sources and habitat. While they are able to travel vast distances in a single day, their habitat has become fragmented and is becoming increasingly more so due to habitat loss and human encroachment. Along with this the temperature increases, unusual heat extremes during summer, and uncertainty of rainfall projections increase African elephants’ climate vulnerability.
Other significant factors that make African elephants vulnerable to climate change include sensitivity to heat, the increased spread of various diseases, long generation time, moderate genetic diversity, and slow reproductive rates. These factors all contribute to the limited ability of elephants to adapt to a changing climate.