African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss.
Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends
are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species,
conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report
the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first continent-wide, standardized
survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model
of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271
savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of
all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with
historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations
are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching.
Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass
ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the
necessity of action to end the African elephants’ downward trajectory by preventing
poaching and protecting habitat
Full report attached.
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