Elephant Database
African Elephant Specialist Group

Continental Totals
2016 African Elephant Status Report

All Years for Africa: 201620132007200219981995

Summary Totals for Africa

Estimates from SurveysGuesses% Known and
Possible Range
Area (km2)
Survey categoryEstimate± 95% CLFromTo
Aerial Total Counts58,0056.3198,431
Ground Total Counts1330.0136
Individual Registrations1,7150.13,576
Aerial Sample Counts330,74819,90227.0847,236
Ground Sample Counts8935070.0990
Reliable Dung Counts15,9013,1983.196,670
Other Dung Counts135,87563,0712.888,271
Informed Guesses3,39818,53926,2837.8245,870
Other Guesses10,12512,0607.0218,187
Degraded Data17,49417,4942.269,735
Modeled Extrapolation32,37832,3785.2163,629
Totals 2015410,79420,163114,410151,285  
Totals 2006508,32536,563137,733147,982  
Assessed Range61.71,932,732
Unassessed Range38.31,199,506
Total Range1003,132,238

Summary Totals for Africa

Data Category Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Aerial or Ground Total Counts59,853000
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts327,37820,16420,1640
Other Dung Counts140,8936,0510
Informed Guesses3,398050,9697,689
Other Guesses2770027,567
Totals 2015390,90761,05777,18435,256
Totals 2006471,83682,70184,86049,361

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

 Estimates from SurveysGuessesArea
Cause of Change Estimate ± 95% CL From To% Known and PossibleTotal
Repeat Survey-118,477±40,682-8,691-2,89622.8714,065
New Population+17,992±6,858+13,975+15,23510.7335,754
Different Technique+11,369±5,180-22,998-26,1924.6145,318
Different Area+4,165±3,449-16,248-14,5655.4170,682
New Guess-4,482±333+12,958+19,38915.4483,766
Population Lost-129±167-998-1,1380.0837
Data Degraded-3,335±642+3,335+1,7080.00
No Change0±76002.682,310

Interpretation of Changes in Estimates from Previous Report

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey-146,574+23,917+54,969-433
New Population+4,398+24,757+24,745+1,564
Different Technique+5,080+4,009+1,203-16,130
Different Area+928-10,206-265-944
New Guess-3,924-395+28,047-9,311
Population Lost-83-205-746-477

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

Cause of Change Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Repeat Survey-79,723-15,050-3,633-238
New Population+2,392-15,578-1,635+859
Different Technique+2,763-2,523-79-8,860
Different Area+505+6,422+17-519
New Guess-2,134+249-1,853-5,114
Population Lost-45+129+49-262

Area of Range Covered by Each Data Category (km²)

Data CategoryKnown RangePossible RangeTotal Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts197,0605,083202,143
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts841,678103,218944,896
Informed Guesses230,720178,779409,499
Other Dung Counts84,2654,00788,271
Other Guesses229,08654,266283,353
Unassessed Range515,413682,0701,198,197

Elephant Estimates

Estimates from SurveysGuessesRange  
RegionEstimate/Number Seen± 95% CLFromToArea (km²)% Regional% AssessedIQI1PFS2
Central Africa19,4653,20985,183119,966783,08525700.11
Eastern Africa86,37310,54911,97312,060880,64828620.491
Southern Africa293,46716,68314,45715,9721,325,99842550.51
West Africa11,4892,5842,8773,367142,5005720.482

Elephant Estimates

RegionDefiniteProbablePossibleSpeculativeRange Area (km²)% of Continental Range% of Range AssessedIQI1PFS2
Central Africa21,30538,88148,07817,124783,0852570 .332
Eastern Africa75,82410,65113,0419,483880,6552862 .492
Southern Africa276,98116,68326,1975,9101,325,9984255 .501
West Africa8,9142,7043,0592,711142,500572 .483
Totals395,59356,35077,72635,2283,132,23810062 .49

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.

IUCNSpecies Survival Commission

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