Elephant Database
African Elephant Specialist Group

South Africa
2016 African Elephant Status Report

All Years for South Africa: 201620132007200219981995

Summary Totals for South Africa

Estimates from SurveysGuesses% Known and
Possible Range
Area (km2)
Survey categoryEstimate± 95% CLFromTo
Aerial Total Counts18,42167.120,563
Informed Guesses4208,4238,43324.57,515
Other Guesses220.4125
Totals 201518,84108,4258,435  
Totals 200617,8470638660  
Assessed Range92.028,203
Unassessed Range8.02,448
Total Range10030,651

Summary Totals for South Africa

Data Category Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Aerial or Ground Total Counts18,421000
Informed Guesses42008,42310
Other Guesses0002
Totals 201518,84108,42312
Totals 200617,847063822

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

 Estimates from SurveysGuessesArea
Cause of Change Estimate ± 95% CL From To% Known and PossibleTotal
Repeat Survey+4,81000062.619,184
New Population00+64+640.00
Different Technique+2310+162+17210.23,121
Different Area+2860000.8247
New Guess-4,3330+7,561+7,53918.45,651
Totals+9940+7,787+7,77592.028,203

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey+4,810000
New Population00+640
Different Technique+2310+162+10
Different Area+286000
New Guess-4,3220+7,559-20
Totals+1,0050+7,785-10

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

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey+4,757000
New Population00+640
Different Technique+2280+162+10
Different Area+283000
New Guess-4,2750+7,559-20
Totals+9940+7,785-10

Area of Range Covered by Each Data Category (km²)

Data CategoryKnown RangePossible RangeTotal Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts20,563020,563
Informed Guesses7,51507,515
Other Guesses1250125
Unassessed Range2,44802,448
Totals30,651030,651

South Africa: Elephant Estimates

Cause ofSurvey Details2 Number of Elephants Area Map Location
Input ZoneChange1TypeReliab.YearEstimate95% C.L. SourcePFS3 (km²) Lon. Lat.
Central Highveld Populations
+ Atherstone Provincial Nature ReserveNGOD2015105Garaï, pers. comm., 20162240 26.8E 24.5S
NGOD2015105Garaï, pers. comm., 2016240 26.8E 24.5S
+ Madikwe Provincial ReserveNGOD20151,006Garaï, pers. comm., 20162605 26.3E 24.8S
NGOD20151,006Garaï, pers. comm., 2016605 26.3E 24.8S
+ Marakele National ParkDTATA2012171Ferreira et al., 20122380 27.7E 24.4S
DTATA2012171Ferreira et al., 2012380 27.7E 24.4S
+ Pilanesberg Provincial ReserveNGOD2015240Garaï, pers. comm., 20162491 27.1E 25.2S
NGOD2015240Garaï, pers. comm., 2016491 27.1E 25.2S
Eastern Cape Populations
+ Addo Elephant National ParkDTATA2012595Ferreira et al., 201221,250 25.5E 33.3S
DTATA2012595Ferreira et al., 20121,250 25.5E 33.3S
+ Great Fish River Provincial ReserveNGOD20152Selier, pers. comm., 20162450 26.8E 33.1S
NGOD20152Selier, pers. comm., 2016450 26.8E 33.1S
+ Kariega Private Game ReserveNGOD201541Selier, pers. comm., 20162190 26.7E 33.5S
NGOD201541Selier, pers. comm., 2016190 26.7E 33.5S
+ Knysna ForestNGOE20152Selier, pers. comm., 20162126 23.0E 34.0S
NGOE20152Selier, pers. comm., 2016126 23.0E 34.0S
+ Kwandwe Private Game ReserveNGOD201557Selier, pers. comm., 20163158 26.6E 33.1S
NGOD201557Selier, pers. comm., 2016158 26.6E 33.1S
Eastern Lowveld Populations
+ Balule, Timbavati Umbabat and KlaserieNGOD20152,772Garaï, pers. comm., 201611,666 31.2E 24.2S
NGOD20152,772Garaï, pers. comm., 20161,666 31.2E 24.2S
+ Kruger National ParkRSATA201517,086Ferreira et al., 2015119,073 31.5E 24.3S
RSATA20153,988Ferreira et al., 20155,650 31.5E 24.3S
RSATA20158,270Ferreira et al., 20159,850 31.5E 24.3S
RSATA20154,828Ferreira et al., 20153,573 31.5E 24.3S
+ Letaba Provincial Nature ReserveNGOD2015621Garaï, pers. comm., 20162420 31.1E 23.7S
NGOD2015621Garaï, pers. comm., 2016420 31.1E 23.7S
+ Makuya National ParkNGOD20159Garaï, pers. comm., 20162165 30.9E 22.6S
NGOD20159Garaï, pers. comm., 2016165 30.9E 22.6S
+ Manyeleti Game ReserveRSATA2009222SANParks, 20092228 31.2E 24.1S
RSATA2009222SANParks, 2009228 31.2E 24.1S
+ MaremaniNPOD201564Garaï, pers. comm., 20162400 30.2E 22.4S
NPOD201564Garaï, pers. comm., 2016400 30.2E 22.4S
+ Mthetomusha Provincial ReserveNGOD201557Garaï, pers. comm., 2016372 31.3E 25.5S
NGOD201557Garaï, pers. comm., 201672 31.3E 25.5S
+ Songimvelo Game ReserveNGOD2015105Garaï, pers. comm., 20162490 31.0E 26.0S
NGOD2015105Garaï, pers. comm., 2016490 31.0E 26.0S
Greater Mapungubwe Ecosystem
+ Mapungubwe EcosystemDAATA2014347Selier & Page, 20152279 29.3E 22.2S
DAATA2014344Selier & Page, 2015214 29.3E 22.2S
DAATA20143Selier & Page, 201565 29.3E 22.2S
KwaZulu-Natal Populations
+ Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game ReserveNGOD2015700EKZNW, 20162965 31.9E 28.3S
NGOD2015700EKZNW, 2016965 31.9E 28.3S
+ Ithala Game ReserveDTOD2015162EKZNW, 20162297 31.3E 27.5S
DTOD2015162EKZNW, 2016297 31.3E 27.5S
+ St. Lucia ReservesDTOD2015110EKZNW, 20162539 32.5E 27.9S
DTOD2015110EKZNW, 2016539 32.5E 27.9S
+ Tembe Elephant ParkDTOD2015220 10*EKZNW, 20162285 32.5E 26.9S
DTOD2015220 10*EKZNW, 2016285 32.5E 26.9S
+ uMkhuze Game ReserveNGOD201590EKZNW, 20162380 32.3E 27.7S
NGOD201590EKZNW, 2016380 32.3E 27.7S
Other Private Reserves
+ Other Private ReservesNGOD20152,482Garaï, pers. comm., 2016310,000 24.6E 29.1S
NGOD20152,482Garaï, pers. comm., 201610,000 24.6E 29.1S

* Range of informed guess

1Key to Causes of Change (only tracked since 2007): DA: Different Area; DD: Data Degraded; DT: Different Technique; NA: New Analysis; NG: New Guess; NP: New population; PL: Population Lost; RS: Repeat Survey (RS ́ denotes a repeat survey that is not statistically comparable for reasons such as different season); –––: No Change

2Key to Survey Types: AC: Aerial Count, not specified; AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; EX: Extrapolation from GIS; GD: Genetic Dung Count; GS: Ground Sample Count; GT: Ground Total Count; IG: Informed Guess; IR: Individual Registration; OG: Other Guess. Survey Type is followed by an indicator of survey quality, ranked from 1 to 3 (best to worst). Survey Reliability is keyed A-E (best to worst) as outlined in this table.

3PFS: 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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