Elephant Database
African Elephant Specialist Group

Population Survey

Phenotype: Savanna (based on geographical location)
Data contributed by selwyn@refleqt.co.za, last updated 09/03/2016
Report restricted by data provider
32000 km²
Recorded at stratum level
Show aggregates
The Serengeri-Mara report is submitted as separate entries for Kenya and Tanzania. The area was divided into 42 census bocks, with an average size of 900km2, aggregated into northern and southern regions. Catergory 3 and 4 carcass information was combined. No information on CI, transects or sampling intensity was provided. Extracts from the report: A total of 7,535 elephants were counted in the survey area. The number of elephants counted shows an increasing trend from 2,058 in 1986 to 7,535 individuals in 2014. An isolated population of 20 elephants were observed in Mosiro area in the northern part (Kenya). Further analyses of data reveals an increase in elephant numbers in the south (Serengeti area) in contrast to a decline in the north (Mara area). The observed decrease in elephant numbers in the Mara suggest elephant migration into the Serengeti area where a spike in elephant population was witnessed during the 2014 census. A total of 192 elephant carcasses were counted in the entire ecosystem, of which 117 were in the northern part and 75 in the south. In the north, 84% of carcasses were found outside of the Masai Mara National Reserve and 18% were found inside. In the south, 27% of the carcasses were found outside protected areas and 73 % were found inside. No carcass was found inside Ngorongoro Conservation Area. All of the recent carcasses in the north were found outside of the Masai-Mara National Reserve, and each had its tusks missing. In the south, three of the five recent carcasses were found in the Serengeti National park, one with tusks intact. Stage 3 and 4 carcasses were combines, and is recorded as stage 3 carcasses. 4-seater Cessna 182 aircrafts and one 2-seater Aviat Husky were used for the survey. In the past, aerial total counts by both Kenya and Tanzania were based on irregular counting blocks defined by physical features such as rivers, ridges and roads. The blocks were designed to easily identify the beginning and the end of the block and were difficult to navigate for both the pilot and the Front Seat Observer (FSO). In addition, such physical features became the turning points of each survey transect which increased chances of making errors associated with double counts (Douglas-Hamilton 1996). To address challenges encountered in the past, regular census blocks were designed that were easily navigable using GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. The average block size was set at 900 km² which was calculated to be the average area a plane would comfortably survey in a day for a maximum of six hours. A total of 42 census blocks, three of which astride the international border were surveyed.
Source:Mduma H, Musyoki C, Maliti Kyale D, Nindi S, Hamza K, Ndetei R, Machoke M, Kimutai D, Muteti D, Maloba M, Bakari S, and Kohi E (2014). Aerial Total Count of Elephants and Buffaloes in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem (p. 32). Nairobi, Kenya: WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature (Formerly World Wildlife Fund).
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