Elephant Database
African Elephant Specialist Group

Southern Africa
Provisional African Elephant Population Estimates: update to 31 Dec 2013

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 Counts22,7772.937,876
Individual Registrations2220.1685
Aerial Sample Counts272,15822,53235.6472,412
Informed Guesses2,4468,27014,42417.8236,575
Degraded Data17,93517,9352.127,241
Totals 2015297,60322,53126,20532,359  
Totals 2006314,77723,10511,53613,592  
Assessed Range58.4774,789
Unassessed Range41.6551,209
Total Range1001,325,998

Summary Totals for Southern Africa

Data Category Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Aerial or Ground Total Counts22,999000
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts249,61522,53222,5320
Informed Guesses2,44608,2706,154
Other Guesses2,9860014,949
Totals 2013278,04622,53230,80221,103
Totals 2006291,77823,15524,7039,985

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

 Estimates from SurveysGuessesArea
Cause of Change Estimate ± 95% CL From To% Known and PossibleTotal
Repeat Survey-7,790±11,969-49-4919.2254,068
New Population+3,380±1,651+44+442.736,432
Different Technique+1,968±1,945-7,637-9,3373.748,599
Different Area+3,891±3,063+96+961.620,686
New Guess-1,674±310+5,274+11,16315.5206,022
Data Degraded-16,949±2,282+16,949+16,8581.925,717

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey-6,442-1,359+1,8350
New Population+1,666+1,714+1,8590
Different Technique+1,239+628+434-7,194
Different Area+3,152+739+1,506-7
New Guess-1,303-310+6,946+4,372
Data Degraded-8,259-5,614-6,056+14,256

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

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey-8,893-202+1,7150
New Population+2,300+254+1,7380
Different Technique+1,711+93+405-6,999
Different Area+4,351+110+1,408-7
New Guess-1,799-46+6,495+4,254
Data Degraded-11,402-832-5,662+13,871

Area of Range Covered by Each Data Category (km²)

Data CategoryKnown RangePossible RangeTotal Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts38,561038,561
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts375,55996,852472,412
Informed Guesses188,78847,787236,575
Other Guesses26,70953227,241
Unassessed Range166,719384,491551,209

Elephant Estimates

Estimates from SurveysGuessesRange  
CountryEstimate/Number Seen± 95% CLFromToArea (km²)% Regional% AssessedIQI1PFS2
South Africa20,17004,7674,76730,651288.712

Elephant Estimates

CountryDefiniteProbablePossibleSpeculativeRange Area (km²)% of Regional Range% of Range AssessedIQI1PFS2
Angola818801801110323,270243 .021
Botswana133,45320,81820,8180228,0731768 .601
Malawi1,223218461977,789171 .513
Mozambique16,0923,2406,3335,624320,4022491 .571
Namibia13,6842,8712,8910164,0691249 .421
South Africa20,17004,767030,651288 .712
Swaziland35000500100 1.005
Zambia9,9112,5012,648542170,4661375 .591
Zimbabwe67,9546,9746,97414,73081,228691 .712
Totals278,04622,53230,80221,1031,325,99810058 .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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