This submission describes the aerial sample count conducted in the Katavi-Rukwa ecosystem, Tanzania, in September 2014. Three aircraft (registration 5H-CFA, 5H-SGR and 5H-TWR) were used to cover the 19 953 km² survey area, which was divided into 12 strata. A total count method was used over the Lwafi block due to the terrain being too difficult for SRF.
A total elephant population of 5 738 was estimated. The report notes that the estimated elephant population for the ecosystem is similar to the last estimates of 2012 (7 107 ± 2,627 elephants), and that the overall elephant population within the ecosystem has remained relatively stable since 1998. The distributions of elephant were highly concentrated in the central part of the Katavi National Park and Lukwati Game Reserve.
Nevertheless, the area surveyed was larger than in previous surveys, due to the addition of Lwafi Game Reserve (1 503 km²), Nkamba Forest Reserve (1 122 km²) and increased area of Lukwati GR – inside and outside (3 855 km²) and Rukwa/Out East (328 km²).
Using the counted numbers of live elephant (529) and carcasses (65), the calculated carcass ratio for the entire ecosystem was 10% suggesting death rates above that expected under natural conditions. Stratum-level carcass estimates were not available.
*** Data capturer notes: ***
The maps in the report did not agree with the shapefile provided, which was thus redigitised with approval from the reviewer to merge and split various strata. It should be noted that the GIS areas of the various strata do not agree very with the areas stated in the report, even for strata that were not affected by any redigitisation.
Source:Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute. (2015). Elephant census in the Katavi-Rukwa Ecosystem, Dry Season, 2014 (TAWIRI Aerial Survey Report) (p. 27).