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: