The most comprehensive data on elephant population and range worldwide.
Support
Register
Log In

2012 Regional Totals for Southern Africa ("2013 AFRICA" analysis)

Reports > Loxodonta africana > 2012 > Africa > Southern Africa

All Years for Southern Africa: 20132007200219981995

2012 Summary Totals for Southern Africa

Data Category Definite Probable Possible Speculative
Aerial or Ground Total Counts 20,691 0 0 0
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 238,709 22,552 22,552 0
Informed Guesses 5,603 0 205 213
Other Guesses 5,296 0 0 49,104
Totals 2012 270,299 22,552 22,757 49,317
Totals 2007 297,462 23,516 25,064 10,606

Area of Range Covered by Each Data Category (km²)

Data Category Known Range Possible Range Total Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts 40,364 7 40,371
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 365,518 31,038 396,556
Informed Guesses 49,859 16,184 66,043
Other Guesses 68,849 47,247 116,096
Unassessed Range 181,242 511,994 693,236
Totals 705,831 606,471 1,312,302

Country and Regional Totals and Data Quality

Country Definite Probable Possible Speculative Range Area (km²) % of Regional Range % of Range Assessed IQI1 PFS2
Angola 818 801 851 60 406,003 31 5 .03 1
Botswana 133,088 21,183 21,183 0 100,253 8 66 .58 2
Malawi 865 218 218 1,043 7,539 1 88 .41 3
Mozambique 17,753 3,340 3,383 2,297 342,727 26 57 .45 1
Namibia 16,054 4,472 4,492 0 146,904 11 58 .48 1
South Africa 22,889 0 0 0 30,651 2 89 .89 2
Swaziland 35 0 0 0 50 0 100 1.00 5
Zambia 16,666 3,713 3,805 542 201,246 15 72 .59 1
Zimbabwe 47,366 3,775 3,775 45,375 76,930 6 98 .50 2
Totals 270,299 22,552 22,757 49,317 1,312,302 100 47 .38 0

Southern Africa: Summary

This subregion has the largest elephant population, with almost 53% of the continental DEFINITES + PROBABLES.   Almost all of these are derived from systematic surveys.  A large decline in the DEFINITE category of over 46,000 is due to a number of estimates being degraded (mainly from Zimbabwe) and changes in area (mainly from Botswana).  A number of new populations were assessed in Mozambique, Zambia, and South Africa, and a number of Repeat Surveys were undertaken. Major gaps in updated data exist in Angola and Zimbabwe. 

The 2011 PIKE level for Southern Africa was 0.5, indicating that the poaching surge is now impacting even previously secure populations in this subregion.  Of particular concern are MIKE sites in Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  In Namibia, poaching is increasing in the Caprivi, but so far not impacting Etosha National Park, or Kruger National Park in South Africa.  Again, carcass ratios from recent surveys across the subregion indicate a worrying situation. 

While PIKE levels in South Africa remain low, South Africa was identified by the ETIS cluster analysis as a country of concern with regard to large-scale ivory movements.  Mozambique is also identified in the analysis as a country of concern, mainly due to its unregulated domestic ivory market and its role as a transit state for ivory flowing to Tanzania and directly off the continent.  Angola is the only range State in the subregion that has never submitted a single elephant product seizure to ETIS. 

A number of transfrontier conservation areas are in place across Southern Africa. The recent Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) was launched in 2012 and provides a framework for conserving this very important area of elephant range.  National plans or strategies for elephant management are in place in some range States: Botswana (2003); Namibia (2007); and Zambia (2003)

Human-elephant conflict continues to constitute a long-term threat to elephant conservation.  Two countries now have national human-wildlife conflict strategies: Namibia (2009) and Mozambique (2010).

1 IQI: 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).

2 PFS: 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.elephantdatabase.org/reliability. As a result, totals do not necessarily match the simple sum of the entries within a given category.