Elephant Database
African Elephant Specialist Group

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

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 Counts19,39376.423,413
Individual Registrations1902.2663
Informed Guesses5874,7674,7679.52,927
Totals 201520,17004,7674,767  
Totals 200617,8470638660  
Assessed Range88.127,003
Unassessed Range11.93,648
Total Range10030,651

Summary Totals for South Africa

Data Category Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Aerial or Ground Total Counts19,583000
Informed Guesses58704,7670
Totals 201320,17004,7670
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+4,63800066.020,240
New Population+3650000.8246
Different Technique+22500010.53,219
New Guess-2,9050+4,129+4,1079.52,927

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey+4,638000
New Population+365000
Different Technique+307000
New Guess-2,8440+4,129-22

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

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey+4,369000
New Population+344000
Different Technique+289000
New Guess-2,6790+4,129-22

Area of Range Covered by Each Data Category (km²)

Data CategoryKnown RangePossible RangeTotal Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts24,076024,076
Informed Guesses2,92702,927
Unassessed Range3,64803,648

South Africa: Elephant Estimates

Cause ofSurvey Details2 Number of Elephants Area Map Location
Input ZoneChange1TypeReliab.YearEstimate95% C.L. SourcePFS3 (km²) Lon. Lat.
+ Addo Elephant National ParkDTATA2012595Ferreira et al., 201214,664 25.8E 33.4S
DTATA20120Ferreira et al., 20121,166 25.8E 33.4S
DTATA201222Ferreira et al., 20121,166 25.8E 33.4S
DTATA2012447Ferreira et al., 20121,166 25.8E 33.4S
DTATA2012126Ferreira et al., 20121,166 25.8E 33.4S
+ Atherstone Provincial Nature ReserveNGOD201078Garai, pers. comm., 20122240 26.7E 24.5S
NGOD201078Garai, pers. comm., 2012240 26.7E 24.5S
+ Garden Route National Park-IRA20054EMOA, 20053126 23.0E 34.0S
-IRA20054EMOA, 2005126 23.0E 34.0S
+ Great Fish River Provincial ReserveNGOD20112Garai, pers. comm., 20122450 26.8E 33.1S
NGOD20112Garai, pers. comm., 2012450 26.8E 33.1S
+ Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game ReserveNGOD2011600Garai, pers. comm., 20122950 31.9E 28.3S
NGOD2011600Garai, pers. comm., 2012950 31.9E 28.3S
+ Ithala Game ReserveDTIRA2011146Garai, pers. comm., 20122297 31.3E 27.5S
DTIRA2011146Garai, pers. comm., 2012297 31.3E 27.5S
+ Kariega Private Game Reserve-IRA200511EMOA, 20053190 26.7E 33.5S
-IRA200511EMOA, 2005190 26.7E 33.5S
+ Kruger National ParkRSATA201216,571Ferreira et al., 2012119,624 31.5E 23.8S
RSATA201216,571Ferreira et al., 201219,624 31.5E 23.8S
+ Kwandwe Private Game Reserve-IRA200529EMOA, 20053158 26.6E 33.1S
-IRA200529EMOA, 2005158 26.6E 33.1S
+ Letaba Provincial Nature ReserveNGOD2010481Garai, pers. comm., 20122420 31.1E 23.7S
NGOD2010481Garai, pers. comm., 2012420 31.1E 23.7S
+ Madikwe Provincial ReserveNGOD2011800Garai, pers. comm., 20122605 26.3E 24.8S
NGOD2011800Garai, pers. comm., 2012605 26.3E 24.8S
+ Makuya National ParkRSATA201073Garai, pers. comm., 20122165 30.9E 22.6S
RSATA201073Garai, pers. comm., 2012165 30.9E 22.6S
+ Manyeleti Game ReserveRSATA2009222SANParks, 20092228 31.2E 24.1S
RSATA2009222SANParks, 2009228 31.2E 24.1S
+ Mapungubwe EcosystemNPATA2012250Selier & Page, 20122229 29.3E 22.2S
NPATA2012127Selier & Page, 2012220 29.3E 22.2S
NPATA20120Selier & Page, 20122 29.3E 22.2S
NPATA2012123Selier & Page, 20123 29.3E 22.2S
NPATA20120Selier & Page, 20124 29.3E 22.2S
+ Marakele National ParkDTATA2012171Ferreira et al., 20122380 27.7E 24.4S
DTATA2012171Ferreira et al., 2012380 27.7E 24.4S
+ Mjejane Game ReserveNPATA2009115SANParks, 2009340 31.2E 24.1S
NPATA2009115SANParks, 200940 31.2E 24.1S
+ Mthetomusha Provincial ReserveNGOD201144Garai, pers. comm., 2012372 31.3E 25.4S
NGOD201144Garai, pers. comm., 201272 31.3E 25.4S
+ Pilanesberg Provincial ReserveNGOD2011203Garai, pers. comm., 20122491 27.1E 25.3S
NGOD2011203Garai, pers. comm., 2012491 27.1E 25.3S
+ Private ReservesNGOD20113,048Garai, pers. comm., 201237,293 24.3E 29.5S
NGOD20113,048Garai, pers. comm., 20127,293 24.3E 29.5S
+ Sabie Sands Game ReserveRSATA20121,181Garai, pers. comm., 20122650 31.5E 24.8S
RSATA20121,181Garai, pers. comm., 2012650 31.5E 24.8S
+ Songimvelo Game ReserveNGOD201198Garai, pers. comm., 20122310 31.0E 26.0S
NGOD201198Garai, pers. comm., 2012310 31.0E 26.0S
+ Tembe Elephant ParkDTATA2012215Garai, pers. comm., 20122285 32.5E 26.9S
DTATA2012215Garai, pers. comm., 2012285 32.5E 26.9S

* 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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