Why We Are Counting in These Areas

Before we could begin the Great Elephant Census, the team had to decide which areas to fly over to make sure we hit our goal of counting at least 90% of the savannah elephants in Africa. 

Data from the African Elephant Specialist Group helped inform that decision. The areas represented are those that we feel have a ‘definite’ elephant population. ‘Definite’ refers to a specific term from the AfESG that correlates to the highest level of accuracy in a previous survey count. 

Here are some data points:

80% of African savannah elephants are found in just 5 countries: Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa

Add Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia and that area is home to 95% of Africa’s elephants

The ‘definite’ numbers are only one piece of the story however, and why there is a need for very accurate baseline counts across the most heavily populated countries, as well as other areas.  There are also ‘probable’, ‘possible’ and ‘speculative’ numbers of elephants in each country.  These populations are less known, but could add up to hundreds of thousands of elephants.

Check out chart below which is based on existing data:

CountryDefiniteProbableCumulative
Percent
Botswana 133,08821,18335%
Tanzania 95,35110,27858%
Zimbabwe 47,3663,77570%
Kenya 26,36577176%
South Africa 22,889081%
Mozambique 17,7533,34086%
Namibia 16,0544,47290%
Zambia 16,6663,71395%
South Sudan 1,1725,88297%
Burkina Faso 4,47732098%
Uganda 2,2231,03198%
Cameroon 7751,07999%
Angola 81880199%
Malawi 86521899%
Benin 91648100%
Ethiopia 6280100%
Chad 4540100%
Mali 3440100%
Liberia 2599100%
Eritrea 960100%
Niger 850100%
Swaziland 350100%
Rwanda 1117100%