Findings of the three-year Great Elephant Census managed by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) has found substantial decline in elephant numbers over just the last decade in Africa. As per the findings, Africa’s elephant population has reduced by at least 30 per cent between 2007 and 2014.
"The results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants' downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat," said Michael Chase, EWB Director and the Principle Investigator on the project.
The ambitious project to count all of Africa's savannah elephants from the air has completed 18 country surveys with two countries still to be completed, organisers said.
South Sudan and the Central African Republic are anticipated to be flown by the end of 2016 depending on safety conditions and data reliability.
For savannah elephant populations in 15 GEC countries for which repeat counts were available, populations declined by 30 per cent, or 144,000 animals, between 2007 and 2014, the investigators said.
The pan-African survey showed the estimated savannah elephant population to be 352,271 within the 18 countries surveyed to-date, representing at least 93 per cent of savannah elephants in these countries.
The researchers reported that 84 per cent of the population surveyed was sighted in legally protected areas compared to 16 percent in unprotected areas.
(With agency inputs)