Elephant Database
African Elephant Specialist Group

Southern Africa
2016 African Elephant Status Report

All Years for Southern Africa: 201620132007200219981995

Summary Totals for Southern Africa

Estimates from SurveysGuesses% Known and
Possible Range
Area (km2)
Survey categoryEstimate± 95% CLFromTo
Aerial Total Counts21,9372.229,142
Ground Total Counts1330.0136
Individual Registrations390.022
Aerial Sample Counts270,76916,68335.6471,590
Informed Guesses5699,5149,8245.573,310
Other Guesses5,3716,57611.9158,161
Degraded Data2722720.22,462
Totals 2015293,44716,68215,15716,672  
Totals 2006320,69023,13211,19713,253  
Assessed Range55.4734,824
Unassessed Range44.6591,174
Total Range1001,325,998

Summary Totals for Southern Africa

Data Category Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Aerial or Ground Total Counts22,109000
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts254,08616,68316,6830
Informed Guesses56909,514310
Other Guesses217005,600
Totals 2015276,98116,68326,1975,910
Totals 2006297,63223,18124,7299,679

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

 Estimates from SurveysGuessesArea
Cause of Change Estimate ± 95% CL From To% Known and PossibleTotal
Repeat Survey-29,913±28,372-56-5628.5377,379
New Population+2,978±1,398+787+8025.066,100
Different Technique+3,292±1,194-6,847-8,5573.849,760
Different Area+1,004±2,255-3+363.850,641
New Guess-4,551±92+10,094+11,20914.2188,481
Population Lost00-60-600.00
Data Degraded-530+53+530.00
Totals-27,243±28,520+3,968+3,42755.2734,824

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey-85,300+55,387+80,063-56
New Population+601+2,377+3,501+201
Different Technique+2,214+1,004+1,739-6,628
Different Area+63+941+1,220+39
New Guess-4,313-129+7,482+2,935
Population Lost000-60
Totals-86,735+59,580+94,005-3,569

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report (2007 scaling)

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey-20,309-6,041+1,250-59
New Population+143-259+55+212
Different Technique+527-110+27-6,999
Different Area+15-103+19+41
New Guess-1,027+14+117+3,099
Population Lost000-63
Totals-20,651-6,498+1,468-3,769

Area of Range Covered by Each Data Category (km²)

Data CategoryKnown RangePossible RangeTotal Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts26,9632,33829,301
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts410,76860,822471,590
Informed Guesses61,37511,93573,310
Other Guesses130,77929,844160,623
Unassessed Range166,452424,722591,174
Totals796,337529,6611,325,998

Elephant Estimates

Estimates from SurveysGuessesRange  
CountryEstimate/Number Seen± 95% CLFromToArea (km²)% Regional% AssessedIQI1PFS2
Angola3,3961,56296111323,2702413.091
Botswana131,62612,50800228,0731756.521
Malawi1,30703983987,789172.553
Mozambique10,8842,2294,2995,519320,4022482.481
Namibia22,7544,3069090164,0691251.431
South Africa18,84108,4258,43530,651292.642
Swaziland42000500100.005
Zambia21,9674,704214314170,4661362.501
Zimbabwe82,6308,5891,6351,80581,228697.862
Totals293,44716,68315,15716,6721,325,99810055.501

Elephant Estimates

CountryDefiniteProbablePossibleSpeculativeRange Area (km²)% of Regional Range% of Range AssessedIQI1PFS2
Angola1,8701,5621,57265323,2702413 .091
Botswana119,11812,50812,5080228,0731756 .521
Malawi1,307039807,789172 .553
Mozambique8,6552,2292,2504,423320,4022482 .511
Namibia18,4484,3064,3960164,0691251 .431
South Africa18,84108,4231230,651292 .642
Swaziland42000500100 1.005
Zambia17,2634,7044,749269170,4661362 .501
Zimbabwe74,2228,5899,1161,14181,228697 .862
Totals276,98116,68326,1975,9101,325,99810055 .501

1IQI: Information Quality Index: This index quantifies overall data quality at the regional level based on the precision of estimates and the proportion of assessed elephant range (i.e. range for which estimates are available). The IQI ranges from zero (no reliable information) to one (perfect information).

2PFS: Priority for Future Surveys, ranked from 1 to 5 (highest to lowest). Based on the precision of estimates and the proportion of national range accounted for by the site in question, PFS is a measure of the importance and urgency for future population surveys. All areas of unassessed range have a priority of 1. See Introduction for details on how the PFS is derived.

Note that totals for the Definite, Probable, and Possible categories are derived by pooling the variances of individual estimates, as described at http://www.africanelephantdatabase.org/reliability. As a result, totals do not necessarily match the simple sum of the entries within a given category.

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