Big elephant survey in Africa

This is an African elephant video.

From National Geographic:

Largest Wildlife Census in History Makes Waves in Conservation

The full, data-driven story of Africa’s savanna elephants is now taking shape.

By Paul Steyn, for National Geographic

PUBLISHED January 04, 2016

Early findings from the largest ever aerial survey of African wildlife—the Great Elephant Census (GEC)—are proving that big data can make a big difference when it comes to saving the world’s largest land mammal.

The Africa-wide census, funded by Microsoft billionaire Paul G. Allen, took off in February 2014 with the objective of gaining a better understanding of elephant numbers across the continent.

Since then, 90 researchers from various organizations have joined aerial teams flying survey transects in 18 elephant range countries. From the sparkling desert floodplains of the Okavango Delta to the boundless savannas of Chad, the teams have racked up a combined distance of 285,000 miles (460,000 kilometers).  …

Preliminary results from the census have revealed both good and bad news for African elephants.

One of the most shocking discoveries is a 53 percent free fall in elephant numbers in Tanzania—from an estimated 109,000 animals in 2009 to 51,000 in 2015. A recent study published in the journal Science, showed that for more than a decade Tanzania has been the main source of illegal elephant ivory shipped out of East Africa.  …

Aside from huge declines not only in Tanzania but also Mozambique (which has seen a  48 percent loss of its elephants in just five years), the census has revealed positive stories.

Botswana’s elephant population has remained stable, with an estimated 129,939 recorded in 2014 (similar to 2013). Major strongholds are the Chobe, Savuti, and Okavango areas.

Uganda showed a surprising uptick, from fewer than 1,000 elephants during the 1970s and 1980s, when poaching was rampant, to an estimated 5,000 today.

Overall, Zimbabwe has lost only 6 percent of its elephants since 2001, also surprising considering the country’s economic and political woes. But locally, as in the Sebungwe region in the northwest, the picture has been grim: a 74 percent loss of elephants since 2001.

12 thoughts on “Big elephant survey in Africa

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