Central Africa

REGIONAL OVERVIEW

General Statistics

Total Area: 5,365,550 km2

Range area (% of region): 975,079 km2 (38%)

Protected area coverage (% of region): 9%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 33%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.22

Current Issues

There have been widespread reports in recent years of intense poaching for both ivory and meat throughout much of Central Africa, and the region is believed to be the main source of ivory currently supplying the world's illegal trade (Hunter et al., 2004). Poaching is exacerbated by new roads for logging operations and mineral and oil extraction, which provide both access to deep forest and routes for the transport of ivory and meat.

A widespread lack of institutional capacity and resources, coupled with difficulties associated with monitoring in forests, result in a general lack of reliable information on the status of elephant populations in the region. While it is therefore difficult to ascertain the impact that the above threats may be having on elephant populations, it is feared that elephant numbers may be declining in Central Africa as a whole.

The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), established in 2002 under the aegis of the Council of Ministers in charge of the Forests of Central Africa (COMIFAC), received substantial funding from the United States government over the 2003–2005 period. Funds were largely focused on 11 priority landscapes, all of which are in elephant range, and were aimed at improving capacity, regional cooperation and law enforcement efforts.

In 2005, Central African Governments collaborated in the development of a regional elephant conservation strategy (AfESG, 2005). The strategy aims to reduce the illegal killing of elephants, prevent the fragmentation of elephant populations, improve knowledge on the status of populations and their habitats, and to change the negative perceptions of the wider public in the region with respect to elephants.

Range Data

Most of the continent's tropical forests are found in Central Africa, with forest originally occupying much of the current known and possible range estimate of nearly 1 million km2. The majority of this range is inhabited by forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), with savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) occurring in northern Cameroon, northern Central African Republic and Chad. Areas of potential hybridization between forest and savanna elephants exist in northern and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and possibly in southern Central African Republic.

Central Africa ranks second amongst the regions in terms of range extent, accounting for 29% of the continental total, but the estimated range area is less than half that reported in the AESR 2002. This results from the re-classification as doubtful range of large tracts of formerly possible range in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (see individual country sections for details). The difference is a consequence of better and more updated information, and is not necessarily an indication of a recent reduction in the extent of actual elephant range. Nevertheless, although most (93%) of the range data for Central Africa is less than 10 years old, and the proportion of range classified as known has increased from 36% to 82%, knowledge of elephant distribution remains unreliable in many parts of the region.

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR CENTRAL AFRICA

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Aerial or Ground Total Counts 3,885 0 0 0
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 6,166 4,260 4,260 0
Other Dung Counts 0 44,676 8,775 0
Informed Guesses 332 0 30,063 4,105
Other Guesses 0 0 0 30,024
TOTAL 2006 10,383 48,936 43,098 34,129
TOTALS 2002 16,450 32,263 64,477 82,563

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Repeat Survey +548 +1,431 +1,768 0
New Population 0 0 +2,210 +1,376
Different Technique -3,130 +29,895 +3,641 -5,239
Different Area -1,130 -10,826 -4,363 0
New Guess -171 -1,645 -11,848 -4,749
New Analysis -21 +20 -9,536 -44,862
Data Degraded -2,163 -2,202 -3,250 +5,040
TOTAL CHANGE -6,067 +16,673 -21,379 -48,434

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Possible Range Total Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts 3,151 0 3,151
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 62,012 1,800 63,812
Other Dung Counts 71,491 0 71,491
Informed Guesses 77,576 1,816 79,392
Other Guesses 258,652 27,890 286,542
Unassessed Range 323,430 147,263 470,693
TOTAL 796,310 178,769 975,079

CENTRAL AFRICA: COUNTRY AND REGIONAL TOTALS & DATA QUALITY

COUNTRY ELEPHANT NUMBERS RANGE AREA (km2) % OF REGIONAL RANGE % OF RANGE ASSESSED IQI1 PFS2
DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Cameroon 179 726 4,965 9,517 118,571 12 45 0.03 1
Central African Republic 109 1,689 1,036 500 73,453 8 95 0.51 2
Chad 3,885 0 2,000 550 149,443 15 26 0.15 1
Congo 402 16,947 4,024 729 135,918 14 23 0.18 1
Democratic Republic of Congo 2,447 7,955 8,855 4,457 263,700 27 40 0.18 1
Equatorial Guinea 0 0 700 630 15,008 2 13 0.00 2
Gabon 1,523 23,457 27,911 17,746 218,985 22 94 0.33 1
TOTAL* 10,383 48,936 43,098 34,129 975,079 29 52 0.22 1

* Note that totals for the Definite, Probable and Possible categories are derived by pooling the variances of individual estimates, as described under the Data Types and Categorization section. As a result, totals do not necessarily match the simple sum of the entries within a given category.

1 IQI: Information Quality Index. This index quantifies overall data quality at the national and regional levels 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). See the Introduction section for a detailed explanation of how the IQI is calculated.

2 PFS: Priority for Future Surveys, ranked from 1 to 5 (highest to lowest). Based on the IQI and the proportion of continental range accounted for by the country in question, the PFS is a measure of the importance and urgency for future population surveys, particularly in areas of unassessed range and areas not surveyed in the last 10 years or more. See Introduction for a more detailed explanation of how the priority ranking is derived.

Two countries, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, account for nearly half of the regional range estimate. Most of the remaining half is distributed approximately equally between Cameroon, Congo and Chad, with the Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea accounting for 8% and 2% respectively. Although a third of the estimated range area lies within designated protected areas, many parks and reserves in the region lack any form of management or effective protection.

Population Data

Survey activity has increased in Central Africa in recent years, largely as a result of initiatives such as the CITES MIKE Programme and the CBFP, but few surveys have provided reliable estimates of absolute elephant abundance. Out of 27 new estimates featured in this report, 16 derive from systematic surveys, but only six are sufficiently reliable to yield estimates in the definite category, and four of them are aerial surveys in savanna elephant areas. Only two reliable dung counts were conducted in the forest zone since the last report, namely in Conkouati (Congo) (Vanleeuwe, 2006) and in Lopé (Gabon) (Maisels et al., 2006). Surveys conducted for the CITES MIKE Programme in Central Africa during 2003 and 2004 (Blake, 2005) have only yielded estimates in the categories of other dung counts, informed guesses and other guesses.

Estimates of elephant abundance are only available for just over half a million km2, or 52% of the total regional elephant range. This represents a decline in coverage with respect to the previous report, both in relative and absolute terms. The decline is largely attributable to the removal of large tracts of former possible range and their associated estimates in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Reliable estimates are only available for 13% of assessed range, while guesses still account for 73%. Consequently, elephants in the possible and speculative categories still outnumber those in the definite and probable groups.

Although the estimate under the definite category has increased in areas where surveys have been repeated using comparable techniques, the overall number of definite elephants has declined by over 6,000, largely caused by the downgrading of old survey estimates to the speculative category, as well as by new estimates obtained using different techniques and covering different areas. Numbers in the probable category have increased by over 16,500 as a result of new estimates using different census techniques. The considerable declines in the possible and speculative categories largely result from new guesses and data degradation, but more significantly from the removal of estimates for areas that are no longer believed to hold elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Although overall data quality, as measured by the IQI, has improved compared to the previous report, Central Africa continues to be the region with the lowest ranking on this score, and it is impossible to make valid comparisons of elephant numbers over time for the region. At the country level, the quality of available information is currently lowest in Equatorial Guinea, followed by Cameroon, which still holds elephant populations of potential continental significance. Chad, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo all have comparably low levels of data quality, while Gabon and Central African Republic have the highest overall levels in the region.

Cross-border Movements

Elephant movements may occur between Central and Eastern Africa, across the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo with Sudan and Uganda. In addition, movements occur between Central and West Africa, across the borders of Cameroon and Nigeria.

CAMEROON

General Statistics

Country area: 475,440 km2

Range area (% of country): 118,571 km2 (37%)

Protected area coverage (% of country): 8%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 26%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.03

CITES Appendix: I

Listing Year: 1989

Current Issues

In 2002 Cameroon was identified as having the largest unregulated domestic ivory market in Central Africa, and also as an important entrepôt in the illicit international ivory trade (Milliken, 2002; TRAFFIC, 2004). Consequently, and as required by the draft Action Plan for the Control of the Trade in African Elephant Ivory adopted at the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CITES Secretariat, 2004), Cameroon embarked on a programme to stem the illegal trade in ivory and other wildlife products. A considerable number of arrests and ivory seizures have been made in recent years. Despite these measures, it is widely believed that illegal logging and poaching for ivory and bushmeat continue to pose a threat to elephant populations (Usongo, 2003).

These problems are compounded by inadequate law enforcement, particularly in the southeast, as well as by the lack of reliable and up-to-date information on the status of elephant populations in spite of the ubiquitous presence of international conservation organizations in the country's major protected areas.

Cameroon continues to have a annual CITES export quota for elephant trophies of 160 tusks (80 animals) (UNEP-WCMC, 2006), but this quota is not based on elephant population monitoring data (Blake, 2005).

The Boumba Bek and Nki Forest Reserves in southern Cameroon, both of which are believed to hold important elephant populations, were declared national parks in October 2005 as part of a transboundary conservation initiative, jointly developed with the Governments of Congo and Gabon.

Range Data

Elephants in Cameroon occur in three distinct biogeographical regions. Savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) are found in the northern Sahelian and Sudanian regions, while forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) occur in the southern forested area (Tchamba et al., 1997).

The Cameroon range map has been substantially altered for this report. The extent of known range in the southeast has been considerably reduced, with some areas categorized as doubtful range, based on detailed information provided by Sánchez Ariño (2004). Parts of the remaining known range in the southeast have been updated with information from de Wachter (2000).

A recent exploration of the Mbam-Djerem National Park only found signs of elephant presence around the central and southern sectors (F.G. Maisels, pers. comm., 2006c). This area has been categorized as known range, while the rest of the park appears as doubtful range. An area to the southeast of Mbam Djerem has also been categorized as known range using information from an analysis of potential routes for an oil pipeline connecting southern Chad to the Atlantic Ocean (Johnson, 1999). The same study found evidence of elephant movements in the northeast, close to the Chadian border, and this is depicted in the form of two crosses on the map.

Cross-border Movements

Satellite tracking work suggests that elephants disperse from their northern savanna range as far as Lake Chad and into Nigeria (Loomis, 2002) in the dry season. There is evidence that elephants leave Bouba Ndjidah National Park in the wet season and move into the Gagal-Yapala region of Chad, where they cause crop damage (Tchamba et al., 1997). Further south, elephants also appear to move between southwestern Chad and Cameroon (Johnson, 1999).

A satellite tracking programme documented the sporadic movement of elephants across the Sangha River between Cameroon and the Central African Republic (Usongo, 2003). A similar program, started more recently in Nki National Park, has yet to find any evidence of movement across the border to Congo. Elephants also move across to Gabon (de Wachter, 2000) and Equatorial Guinea (Bekhuis & Prins, 2003) to the south.

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR CAMEROON

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Other Dung Counts 0 726 295 0
Informed Guesses 179 0 4,670 1,320
Other Guesses 0 0 0 8,197
TOTALS2006 179 726 4,965 9,517
TOTALS 2002 2,006 3,058 9,017 3,160

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Repeat Survey 0 -368 +219 0
New Population 0 0 +1,405 +345
Different Technique 0 +178 +147 -157
New Guess +175 0 -2,212 +1,025
Data Degraded -2,002 -2,142 -3,610 +5,144
TOTAL CHANGE -1,827 -2,332 -4,052 +6,357

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Possible Range Total Range
Other Dung Counts 1,503 0 1,503
Informed Guesses 7,767 734 8,501
Other Guesses 17,269 26,597 43,865
Unassessed Range 31,842 32,860 64,702
TOTAL 58,381 60,190 118,571

CAMEROON: ELEPHANT ESTIMATES

INPUT ZONE CAUSE OF CHANGE1 SURVEY DETAILS2 NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS SOURCE PFS3 AREA (km2) MAP LOCATION
TYPE RELIAB. YEAR ESTIMATE 95% C.L. LON. LAT.
Abong-Mbang Forest Reserve OG3 E 1994 100 A. Ekobo, pers. comm., 1994 2 1,540 13.1 E 4.2 N
Bayang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary RS' DC2 D 2001 457 Bechem & Nchanji, 2001 3 662 9.6 E 5.3 N
Benoué National Park IG3 E 1991 540 DFPN, 1991 2 1,800 13.8 E 8.3 N
Bouba Ndjidah National Park IG3 E 1991 660 DFPN, 1991 2 2,200 14.7 E 8.6 N
Boumba-Bek National Park NG IG3 D 2004 318 Blake, 2005 2 2,383 15.0 E 2.7 N
Campo (South) National Park DC2 C 2001 548 255 Bekhuis & Prins, 2003 3 648 10.1 E 2.3 N
Dja Faunal Reserve DD IG3 E 1995 1,500 500* M.N. Tchamba, pers. comm., 1995 2 5,260 13.0 E 3.1 N
Faro National Park IG3 E 1991 60 Tchamba, 1993 2 3,300 12.7 E 8.2 N
Korup National Park DD DC3 E 1993 425 271 Powell, quest. reply, 1993 2 1,259 9.0 E 5.2 N
Lobéké National Park DD DC2 E 1993 3,719 2,125 Ekobo, 1995 2 1,985 15.9 E 2.3 N
Ma'an Region IG3 D 2000 4 10* Matthews & Matthews, 2000 3 654 10.4 E 2.3 N
Mengame Wildlife Sanctuary NP IG3 D 2003 1,354 285* Halford et al., 2003 2 1,425 12.3 E 2.3 N
Mongokele Forest Reserve DC2 E 1991 773 53 A. Ekobo, pers. comm., 1994 3 850 16.0 E 2.0 N
Mt. Cameroon DT DC3 C 2003 178 148 Ekobo, 2003 3 676 9.2 E 4.2 N
Nki Forest Reserve DC3 D 1998 2,178 A. Ekobo, pers. comm., 1998 2 1,815 14.5 E 2.4 N
Sudanian Area IG3 E 1991 360 DFPN, 1991 1 24,985 13.7 E 8.3 N
Waza National Park NG IG3 D 2002 475 1025* Saleh et al., 2002 2 1,700 14.7 E 11.3 N
Yabassi Area NP IG3 D 2002 63 WWF Cameroon, 2003 2 2,425 10.3 E 4.5 N
Yoko Area NP OG3 E 1999 60 T. Sánchez Ariño, pers. comm., 2004 4 25 12.4 E 5.6 N

* Range of informed guess

1 Key to Causes of Change: 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

2 Key to Survey Types: AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; 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)

3 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.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

General Statistics

Country area: 622,980 km2

Range area (% of country): 73,453 km2 (35%)

Protected area coverage (% of country): 13%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 85%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.51

CITES Appendix: I

Listing Year: 1989

Current Issues

Elephant populations in the Central African Republic (CAR) are now largely restricted to protected areas, but the lack of law enforcement, political unrest and porous international borders continue to make poaching, both in forest and savanna areas, the most prominent threat to the conservation of elephants in the country.

The eastern part of the Central African Republic has been affected by the influx of refugees from both the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Sudan, putting wildlife populations under considerable pressure. Ivory and meat trafficking are known to occur between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Turkalo, quest. reply, 2005).

Elephant meat is found openly for sale in a number of markets around Bangui, Bangassou and Ngotto. In this last area, which is in the process of being gazetted as a protected area, cases of crop raiding by elephants and other instances of human-elephant conflict are frequently reported (Hakizumwami & Luhunu, 2005).

The Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve and Sangha-Ndoki National Park form part of the Sangha Tri- National Park transboundary protected area. The Government of the Central African Republic is planning to sign agreements with its counterparts in Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the creation of additional transboundary protected areas, but the success of these will depend on the availability of sufficient financial support and the capacity to improve law enforcement and monitoring.

Range Data

Three known elephant populations remain in the country: a savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) population in the north in the Manovo-Gounda - St. Floris and Bamingui-Bangoran reserve complexes; and two forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) populations, one in the southeast, north of the town of Bangassou; and another in the southwest, in the area stretching from the Dzanga-Ndoki Special Reserve north into the Ngotto Forest.

Much of the north and east of the Central African Republic was believed to be elephant range until relatively recently, but it is now thought that poaching has virtually wiped out elephant populations in the area (T. Sánchez Ariño, pers. comm., 2004). As a result, most of the areas outside the reserve complexes of Manovo-Gounda - St Floris and Bamingui-Bangoran have been categorized as doubtful range. A small patch of range near the town of Yaloke has also been categorized as doubtful range (T. Sánchez Ariño, pers. comm., 2004; Turkalo, quest. reply, 2005). There are reports that a population remains around the town of Bria in the east of the country (Boulet, cited in Hakizumwami & Luhunu, 2005), but this could not be confirmed.

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 109 820 820 0
Other Dung Counts 0 869 216 0
Other Guesses 0 0 0 500
TOTALS2006 109 1,689 1,036 500
TOTALS 2002 2,977 1,600 2,420 390

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Different Technique -2,868 +1,686 -264 -390
New Guess 0 -1,597 -1,120 +500
TOTAL CHANGE -2,868 +89 -1,384 +110

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Total Range
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 53,378 53,378
Other Dung Counts 4,234 4,234
Other Guesses 11,976 11,976
Unassessed Range 3,865 3,865
TOTAL 73,453 73,453

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: ELEPHANT ESTIMATES

INPUT ZONE CAUSE OF CHANGE1 SURVEY DETAILS2 NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS SOURCE PFS3 AREA (km2) MAP LOCATION
TYPE RELIAB. YEAR ESTIMATE 95% C.L. LON. LAT.
Bamingui-Bangoran National Park & Environs DT AS2 B 2005 830 807 Renaud et al., 2005 1 37,200 20.0 E 8.0 N
Bangassou Forest Reserve NG OG3 E 2004 500 500* Blake, 2005 1 12,011 23.3 E 5.2 N
Dzanga-Sangha & Dzanga-Ndoki National Parks DT DC1 C 2005 869 216 Blake, 2005 2 2,554 16.2 E 2.9 N
Manovo Gounda - St Floris National Park DT AS2 B 2005 99 146 Renaud et al., 2005 1 37,200 21.6 E 9.1 N

* Range of informed guess

1 Key to Causes of Change: 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

2 Key to Survey Types: AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; 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)

3 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.

It is reported that around 100 elephants are occasionally seen in the northwest, close to the borders with Cameroon and Chad (Oyele, cited in Hakizumwami & Luhunu, 2005), and two crosses are shown on the map to reflect this.

Population Data

All known elephant populations in the Central African Republic have been surveyed since 2004 as part of the CITES MIKE programme. Estimates from an aerial sample count conducted in the Manovo-Gounda - St. Floris (830 ± 807) and Bamingui-Bangoran (99 ± 146) reserve complexes (Renaud et al., 2005) have been used to replace informed guesses of 300 and 1,000 respectively (R.G. Ruggiero, pers. comm., 2003).

A dung count conducted in the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve and Dzanga-Ndoki National Park returned an estimate of 869 ± 216 (Blake, 2005). Although this is considerably lower than the previous estimate of nearly 3,000, which was an informed guess based on an individual registration study (A.K. Turkalo, pers. comm., 2003), the new estimate has to be interpreted in the context of the larger population of which Dzanga-Sangha's elephants are part. This population stretches across the border to Congo, where another dung count in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park returned an estimate of 3,032 ± 755 (Blake, 2005). The combined estimate for both survey zones is actually higher than the combined estimate in the previous report.

A dung survey was planned for the Bangassou Forest Reserve, but the low number of dung-piles (7) detected in the pilot phase drove the surveyors to conclude that the line transect method would not yield a reliable estimate for this site, and thus to cancel the planned survey (Blake, 2005). The survey team leader nevertheless guessed the Bangassou population to be between 500 and 1,000 elephants, and this replaces an estimate of 1,600 ± 1,200 from a 1996 dung count (Kpanou et al., 1998). Any comparison between the two estimates would, however, be meaningless, as the later estimate is only a guess.

Only 5% of remaining range in the Central African Republic remains unsurveyed, largely as a result of the categorization of a large portion of formerly possible range as doubtful range. Estimates from systematic surveys are now available for over 72% of remaining elephant range. As a result of better information and a more systematic knowledge of the transboundary population in the southwest of the country, estimates in the definite and possible categories have decreased substantially with respect to the last report, whereas those in the probable and speculative categories have increased marginally.

Cross-border Movements

Elephants in Dzanga-Sangha are part of a single population that extends across the border with Congo into the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (F.G. Maisels, pers. comm., 2003). Elephants may also move sporadically across the Sangha River into Lobéké National Park in Cameroon. The northeastern part of the Ngotto Forest is believed to be a corridor for elephants moving between Congo and the Central African Republic, as they are only seen there seasonally (Brugière et al., 2005).

Elephants used to move to Sudan across the eastern border (J. Garang, pers. comm., 2002), but this cannot be confirmed at present, as there is uncertainty as to the current presence of elephants on either side of the border. Similarly, it is not known whether elephants continue to move across the northern border to Chad as they used to (Dejace, 1996; Dejace, 1999), or from Bangassou south into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

CHAD

General Statistics

Country area: 1,284,000 km2

Range area (% of country): 149,443 km2 (21%)

Protected area coverage (% of country): 9%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 16%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.15

CITES Appendix: I

Listing Year: 1989

Current Issues

Desertification and drought are believed to be among the chief threats facing elephant populations in Chad, as the southward advance of the desert increasingly puts elephants in direct competition with people. The net result of this is increased incidence of human-elephant conflict, poaching, the disruption of elephant migration corridors and consequent fragmentation of elephant habitat (Hakizumwami & Luhunu, 2005; Malachie & Lassou, 2002).

The African Parks Foundation may be taking over, as from 2007, the management of Zakouma National Park, which holds Chad's largest elephant population (African Parks Foundation, 2006a). In mid-2006 the illegal killing of 100 elephants outside Zakouma National Park was reported and widely publicized in the media, but it is not known whether this was an isolated incident or part of a wider problem.

Within the framework of the Yaoundé Declaration, Chad plans to establish a transboundary conservation area linking Zakouma National Park with the Bamingi-Bangoran and Manovo-Gounda - St. Floris reserve complexes in the northern Central African Republic, all of which hold important elephant populations in their respective countries (but see under Cross-Border Movements below).

Range Data

Only savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) occur in Chad, distributed in pockets of Sudanian woodland in the extreme south, as well as in the drier Sahelian Acacia wooded grasslands further north. Herds may move seasonally between these two zones in search of surface water (Depierre, 1967), but the largest population is concentrated in and around Zakouma National Park. No elephants are found in the Saharan northern half of the country.

The range map for Chad has been considerably revised thanks to information provided by Sánchez Ariño (2004), as well as to data from the Landscan 2002 human population density data set (ORNL/GIST, 2002), resulting in the categorization of much of the south as doubtful range (see Introduction section for rationale).

A number of crosses have been added to the map in the southwest, where evidence of elephant presence was reported by consultants working for an oil pipeline project (Johnson, 1999).

Population Data

A total aerial count of Zakouma National Park conducted in 2005 returned an estimate of 3,885 (Malachie et al., 2005). Another aerial survey was conducted in August 2006, but the survey report could not be obtained in time for this report. Hence the result of the 2005 survey has been used to replace an estimate of 1,989 from an aerial total count conducted in 2000 (Planton, 2000). The difference between the two estimates can be explained by the fact that the 2000 survey was conducted at the end of the dry season, when elephants begin to disperse beyond the park boundaries. The 2005 survey, on the other hand, was conducted at the height of the dry season, when elephant density is highest in the park, and when leaf cover is at its lowest. Thus the 2005 figure is believed to be a more accurate estimate of the elephant population in Zakouma. The resulting increase in the number of elephants under the definite category is therefore likely to reflect better information, rather than an increase in the elephant population.

The rest of the estimates featured on the table have been retained unchanged from the previous report. Despite the categorization of large areas of formerly possible range as doubtful range, nearly threequarters of estimated range area in Chad remain unsurveyed. Although these unsurveyed areas are unlikely to contain large numbers of elephants, the estimates reported here cannot be considered a national estimate.

Cross-border Movements

Between 300 and 400 elephants migrate between Lake Chad and northern Cameroon, but spend most of their time in the latter (Tchamba et al., 1997). It is thought that these elephants come into conflict with human communities on their migration between the two countries. Dejace (1996) also believed that elephants move between Chad and the Central African Republic, but this has not been verified.

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR CHAD

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Aerial or Ground Total Counts 3,885 0 0 0
Informed Guesses 0 0 2,000 550
TOTALS2006 3,885 0 2,000 550
TOTALS 2002 1,989 0 2,000 550

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Repeat Survey +1,896 0 0 0
TOTAL CHANGE +1,896 0 0 0

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Possible Range Total Range
Aerial or Ground Total Counts 3,151 0 3,151
Informed Guesses 35,048 12 35,061
Unassessed Range 63,045 48,187 111,232
TOTAL 101,244 48,200 149,443

CHAD: ELEPHANT ESTIMATES

INPUT ZONE CAUSE OF CHANGE1 SURVEY DETAILS2 NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS SOURCE PFS3 AREA (km2) MAP LOCATION
TYPE RELIAB. YEAR ESTIMATE 95% C.L. LON. LAT.
Dembo Area IG3 D 2002 600 100* Malachie & Lassou, 2002 2 2,409 18.0 E 8.2 N
Gagal-Yapala Area IG3 D 2002 400 100* Malachie & Lassou, 2002 2 4,640 14.9 E 9.1 N
Koloudia-Doumdoum Area IG3 D 2002 50 50* Malachie & Lassou, 2002 2 2,180 15.3 E 13.4 N
Lac Fitri Area IG3 D 2002 200 100* Malachie & Lassou, 2002 2 11,670 17.6 E 12.9 N
Larmanaye Area IG3 D 2002 100 50* Malachie & Lassou, 2002 2 2,180 15.5 E 8.1 N
Massenya-Mandjafa Area IG3 D 2002 150 50* Malachie & Lassou, 2002 2 10,864 16.3 E 11.3 N
Siniaka-Minia Faunal Reserve IG3 D 2002 500 100* Malachie & Lassou, 2002 2 4,740 18.2 E 10.4 N
Zakouma National Park RS' AT2 A 2005 3,885 Malachie et al., 2005 3 2,987 19.7 E 10.8 N

* Range of informed guess

1 Key to Causes of Change: 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

2 Key to Survey Types: AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; 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)

3 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.

CONGO

General Statistics

Country area: 342,000 km2

Range area (% of country): 135,918 km2 (73%)

Protected area coverage (% of country): 10%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 20%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.18

CITES Appendix: I

Listing Year: 1989

Current Issues

Poaching of elephants for ivory and meat, fuelled by the proliferation of firearms, along with the commercial exploitation of timber and petroleum are believed to be the most important threats facing elephants in Congo. These problems are aggravated by lack of resources and weak institutional capacity to enforce regulations. Human-elephant conflict, particularly in the form of crop raids, is reported to be a problem, particularly in the areas around Odzala, Conkouati and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Parks (Hakizumwami & Luhunu, 2005).

Congo is a signatory of a number of regional agreements that aim to promote the conservation of the rainforest, to harmonize logging regulations and to curb illegal logging. These include the Yaoundé Declaration and the Brazzaville Process. In addition, Congo participates in two transboundary conservation initiatives with neighbouring countries. The Sangha Tri-National Park, which includes Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (Congo), Lobéké National Park (Cameroon) and the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve (Central African Republic), was the first of these to be established, and has resulted in a number of joint anti-poaching operations. In addition, Congo has begun collaboration with Cameroon and Gabon for the creation of a transboundary protected area that includes Odzala National Park in Congo, Minkébé National Park in Gabon and Dja Faunal Reserve and Nki and Boumba-Bek National Parks in Cameroon.

Range Data

Most of Congo's elephant range lies in the northern forested area, where only forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) are believed to occur. For this report, much of centre and south of the country has been categorized as doubtful range, based on information provided by Sánchez Ariño (2004). The area of known range in and around Conkouati-Douli National Park has been extended based on data provided by Vanleeuwe (2006).

Population Data

A dung count of Odzala-Kokoua National Park conducted in 2005 gave an estimate of 13,545 elephants with an asymmetric confidence interval of 10,836 to 17,608 (Wildlife Conservation Society, 2006). This replaces an estimate of 18,222 from a dung count conducted in 2000 (Hart & Beyers, 2002). In spite of the area covered in the 2006 survey being 73% larger, the estimate is lower by 4,677 elephants. This difference, however, is not statistically significant.

An estimate of 3,032 ± 755 from a dung count of Nouabalé Ndoki National Park and an adjacent logging concession, conducted in 2003 (Blake, 2005), replaces a previous informed guess of 431 (Maisels, 2002b). The 2003 estimate must be interpreted in conjunction with that for the Dzanga-Sangha and Dzanga-Ndoki National Parks in the Central African Republic which, together with Nouabalé-Ndoki, constitute a single transboundary population estimated at around 3,400 elephants (Blake, 2005).

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR CONGO

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 402 370 370 0
Other Dung Counts 0 16,577 3,338 0
Informed Guesses 0 0 316 729
TOTALS2006 402 16,947 4,024 729
TOTALS 2002 431 18,222 6,572 2,300

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
New Population 0 0 +429 +729
Different Technique -29 +3,404 +170 -2,300
Different Area 0 -4,679 -3,146 0
TOTAL CHANGE -29 -1,275 -2,548 -1,571

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Possible Range Total Range
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 2,592 345 2,937
Other Dung Counts 21,952 0 21,952
Informed Guesses 5,733 121 5,854
Unassessed Range 87,640 17,535 105,176
TOTAL 117,918 18,001 135,918

CONGO: ELEPHANT ESTIMATES

INPUT ZONE CAUSE OF CHANGE1 SURVEY DETAILS2 NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS SOURCE PFS3 AREA (km2) MAP LOCATION
TYPE RELIAB. YEAR ESTIMATE 95% C.L. LON. LAT.
Conkouati National Park DT DC2 B 2005 772 370 Vanleeuwe, 2006 2 3,850 11.5 E 3.9 S
Lac Telé Community Reserve NP DC3 D 2004 316 729* Iyenguet et al., 2007 2 4,400 17.3 E 1.1 N
Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park DT DC2 C 2003 3,032 755 Blake, 2005 2 6,660 16.7 E 2.7 N
Odzala -Kokoua National Park DA DC2 C 2005 13,545 3,252 Wildlife Conservation Society, 2006 2 13,545 14.9 E 1.0 N

* Range of informed guess

1 Key to Causes of Change: 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

2 Key to Survey Types: AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; 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)

3 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.

A number of dung counts have been conducted in Conkouati-Douli National Park in recent years. The result of 772 ± 370 from the most recent of these surveys (Vanleeuwe, 2006) replaces an informed guess of 1,000 by Maisels (2003).

The Lac Telé Community Reserve was surveyed in 2003 and 2004 (Iyenguet et al., 2007; Rainey, 2004). The 2003 survey was conducted when most of the park was flooded and it was difficult to detect elephant dung. The 2004 survey, conducted in the dry season, estimated 316 elephants, with an asymmetric 95% confidence interval of 98 to 1,045 (Iyenguet et al., 2007). This estimate has been categorized as an informed guess, as the low number of dung-piles encountered makes it unreliable.

Elephant estimates have declined across all four categories in Congo as a result of changes in the quality and coverage of data. These declines are therefore not indicative of changes in actual elephant numbers, but rather the result of better information. However, nearly 80% of estimated elephant range in Congo remains unsurveyed, and it is therefore impossible to ascertain changes in elephant numbers at the national level, as significant numbers of elephants may be found in the unsurveyed areas.

Cross-border Movements

Elephants are known to move between Nouabalé-Ndoki in northern Congo and Dzanga-Sangha in the Central African Republic, and these elephants form a single transboundary population (A.K. Turkalo, pers. comm., 2003; Maisels, 2001). Cross-border movements are also likely to occur between Congo and Gabon to the west and Cameroon to the north. However, a radio-collaring project in Nki National Park in Cameroon has yet to find evidence of transboundary movement into Congo.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

General Statistics

Country area: 2,345,410 km2

Range area (% of country): 263,700 km2 (39%)

Protected area coverage (% of country): 6%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 53%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.18

CITES Appendix: I

Listing Year: 1989

Current Issues

Poaching for ivory and meat remains the most important threat to elephant populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The situation is particularly serious in the east, where outbursts of fighting have continued even after the signing of a peace deal in 2003.

Large amounts of ivory originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been confiscated in recent years (Hakizumwami & Luhunu, 2005), with a total of 17 tonnes of ivory estimated to have been moved from the Okapi Faunal Reserve alone in the last six months of 2004 (Amboya Apobo, 2004). Most of the ivory is destined for consumption overseas and is moved through neighbouring countries, particularly Uganda, the Sudan and Angola (Milliken et al., 2006).

The once significant internal ivory market (Martin & Stiles, 2000) seems to have declined in relative importance in recent years. A survey of a Kinshasa market in 2005, which is supplied mainly from elephant populations in central Democratic Republic of Congo, revealed relatively low levels of activity in comparison to the exports from the east of the country (Mubalama & Hart, in press).

Following widespread reports of incursions of Sudanese poachers into Garamba, the management of the park and its surrounding hunting reserves was taken over by the African Parks Foundation in 2005. Although surveys and anti-poaching operations in Garamba and its environs commenced soon after the new management took over, compliance with the CITES MIKE programme is being implemented more slowly.

Human-elephant conflict is reported to be a problem particularly around Upemba and Virunga National Parks, as well as in the Ituri forest, where it intensified as elephants retreated from remote areas where they were being hunted to areas closer to settlements.

Range Data

The Democratic Republic of Congo is transversed by an equatorial forest belt surrounded by savanna woodlands in the northeast and south of the country. Forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) occur in the north and central parts, with savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) and forest-savanna hybrids in the north and the east.

The range map has been drastically altered for this report, with the re-categorization of most of the country's possible range into doubtful range based on information from Hart (2006) and the Landscan 2002 human population density data set (ORNL/GIST, 2002; see Introduction section for details). Although nearly 650,000 km2 of former possible range have been converted into doubtful range, this is not necessarily the result of a recent reduction in actual extent of elephant range, but rather a better reflection of the uncertainty associated with elephant distribution in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A reconnaissance conducted in the northern and southern parts of the lowland sector of Kahuzi Biega National Park in 2005 found no evidence of elephant presence, and these areas have also been categorized as doubtful range (Liengola, 2006).

Range in the northern and central sectors of Garamba National Park has been removed, as elephants have not been seen there for many years (Hillman Smith et al., 2003a). The southern sector of the park and its surrounding hunting reserves remain as known range.

An area in the upper Tshuapa basin to the to the east of Salonga National Park, and a patch in the Luamba area have been categorized as known range (Hart, 2006; Mubalama, quest. reply, 2006; T. Sánchez Ariño, pers. comm., 2004).

Population Data

The regular survey programme at Garamba National Park conducted two surveys since the last report, one in May 2003, which returned an estimate of 6,948 ± 3,910 (Hillman Smith et al., 2003a), and another in April 2004 (Hillman Smith et al., 2006). The estimate of 6,354 ± 3,975 from this latter survey is featured in this report, and replaces a previous estimate of 5,983 ± 2,320 from a methodologically comparable survey conducted in 2002. Following widespread reports of heavy poaching in Garamba since 2003 (Hillman Smith et al., 2003b), a reconnaissance survey in August 2005 counted 1,202 elephants in the southern sector of the park (de Merode et al., 2005). Although the reconnaissance was intensive, the possibility that elephants could have moved to surrounding hunting reserves or to the central and northern sectors cannot be ruled out. No evidence of active poaching was detected at the time of the survey. An aerial total count of Garamba's southern sector and part of the adjacent Domaine de Chasse de Gangala na Bodio was conducted in April 2006, and while the final survey report was not available in time for inclusion in this report, the estimate was 3,800 elephants (Emslie & Lobao Tello, 2006), which is within the confidence interval of the 2004 estimate.

The Salonga National Park was systematically surveyed in 2004 as part of the CITES MIKE programme. This survey, which only covered two-thirds of the park, returned an estimate of 1,186 with an asymmetric 95% confidence interval of 666 to 2,114 (Blake, 2005). Hart (2006) estimates that 4,000 elephants occur in the Salonga ecosystem. The approximate difference of 2,800 between this and the MIKE survey estimate has been entered in the category of other guesses for the unsurveyed areas inside and outside the park. These two estimates replace a previous informed guess of 12,500 for the entire ecosystem (Hart, 2003). Another survey of Salonga in 2005 explored areas not covered in the MIKE survey, but no attempt was made to estimate elephant numbers (Hart, 2006).

A dung count of the central sector of Okapi Faunal Reserve conducted in 2006 produced an estimate of 2,688 with an asymmetric 95% confidence interval of 1,624 to 4,424 (Grossmann et al., 2006). This replaces an estimate of 3,808 with an asymmetric confidence interval of 2,649 to 5,464 (Thomas et al., 2001). While the two results are not significantly different, it must be noted that the 2000 survey covered a larger area.

The central sector of Virunga National Park was the subject of an aerial sample survey in June 2006. An estimate of 348 ± 177 was reported (Kujirakwinja et al., 2006), but the calculation of the estimate excluded a herd of 120 elephants seen in one of the transects, which were subsequently added to the calculated estimate. According to the survey report, this was done to avoid inflating the estimate and variance beyond what the surveyors considered likely for the park. For the present report, the estimate of 348 with an upper range of 177 has been categorized as an informed guess, and replaces an older informed guess of 486 (Mubalama, 2000).

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 2,294 4,081 4,081 0
Other Dung Counts 0 3,874 1,516 0
Informed Guesses 153 0 3,258 207
Other Guesses 0 0 0 4,250
TOTALS2006 2,447 7,955 8,855 4,457
TOTALS 2002 7,667 2,631 34,996 17,554

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Repeat Survey -1,682 +2,123 +1,508 0
New Population 0 0 +37 0
Different Technique 0 +1,430 -10,118 -2,323
Different Area -3,111 +1,748 +94 0
New Guess -403 0 -8,505 -5,920
New Analysis -23 +23 -9,157 -4,854
TOTAL CHANGE -5,220 +5,324 -26,141 -13,097

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Possible Range Total Range
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 1,402 1,455 2,857
Other Dung Counts 29,959 0 29,959
Informed Guesses 10,665 949 11,614
Other Guesses 59,610 1,290 60,900
Unassessed Range 121,100 37,269 158,369
TOTAL 222,736 40,964 263,700

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: ELEPHANT ESTIMATES

INPUT ZONE CAUSE OF CHANGE1 SURVEY DETAILS2 NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS SOURCE PFS3 AREA (km2) MAP LOCATION
TYPE RELIAB. YEAR ESTIMATE 95% C.L. LON. LAT.
Bushimae IG3 E 1987 120 Won wa Musiti, quest. reply, 1991 2 5,232 23.0 E 7.4 S
Gangala-na-Bodio NA OG3 E 2002 1,000 450* Hart, 2003 2 9,671 29.3 E 3.9 N
Garamba National Park RS AS3 B 2004 6,354 4,081 Hillman Smith et al., 2006 2 5,525 29.5 E 4.2 N
Kahuzi-Biega (Upland) National Park NG IG3 D 2005 20 30* Hart, 2006 4 154 28.7 E 2.2 S
Luama Hunting Zone NG OG3 E 2002 110 15* Mubalama, quest. reply, 2006 2 9,469 28.0 E 4.5 S
Maiko National Park NG IG3 D 2005 3,000 Hart, 2006 2 10,830 27.6 E 0.4 S
Okapi (Central) Faunal Reserve DA DC3 C 2006 2,688 1,348 Grossmann et al., 2006 2 5,600 28.5 E 1.5 N
Salonga National Park DT DC3 C 2004 1,186 692 Blake, 2005 2 22,100 21.2 E 2.1 S
Salonga (Outside) NG OG3 E 2006 2,800 Hart, 2006 2 25,140 21.1 E 2.5 S
Upemba National Park NG OG3 E 2005 145 Mubalama, quest. reply, 2006 2 11,730 26.6 E 9.0 S
Virunga (Central) National Park Sector NG AS2 D 2006 348 177* Kujirakwinja et al., 2006 3 2,597 29.4 E 0.4 S
Virunga (Mikeno) National Park NP IG3 D 2003 43 Gray, quest. reply, 2005 4 256 29.5 E 1.4 S
Virunga (North) National Park Sector NA AS2 B 2003 21 39 Hillman Smith et al., 2003c 3 1,550 29.8 E 0.6 N
Virunga (South) National Park Sector OG3 E 2002 75 L.K. Mubalama, pers. comm., 2003 3 1,290 29.2 E 1.4 S

* Range of informed guess

1 Key to Causes of Change: 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

2 Key to Survey Types: AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; 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)

3 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.

The estimate of 21 shown for Virunga North (Hillman Smith et al., 2003c) has been retained from the previous report, where it appeared as an informed guess. As the survey report has since become available, the estimate is now correctly categorized as a category 2 aerial sample count. The estimate for Virunga South has been retained unchanged from the previous report.

A reconnaissance of the northeastern sector of Maiko National Park (Amsini et al., 2005) found elephant densities to be comparable to those recorded in a dung count more than a decade earlier (Hart & Sikubwabo Kiyengo, 1993). A later survey of the southern sector, however, found comparatively few signs of elephant presence (Amsini et al., 2006). While neither of these surveys attempted to produce estimates of abundance, Hart (2006) believes the number of elephants to stand at around 3,000 in Maiko. This estimate has been entered as an informed guess and replaces an estimate of 6,500 from a dung count conducted in 1992 (Hart & Sikubwabo Kiyengo, 1993).

New guesses for the Luama area and the and Upemba National Park have been provided by Mubalama (2006), replacing guesses by Hart (2003). Guesses featured in the previous report for Lomami-Lualaba and Wamba-Lopori, as well as for portions of the Kivu, Equateur and Orientale Provinces (Hart, 2003), have been removed in this report, as these areas are no longer thought to be elephant range (Hart, 2006). Other guesses for Upper Tshuapa and Bili-Uere, also provided by Hart (2003) have been removed, as they were deemed to be unreliable.

The considerable decline in the possible and speculative categories caused by the removal of these estimates should not be interpreted as a recent decline in actual elephant numbers, but rather as the result of better information. The increase in the probable category resulting from the Salonga and Okapi surveys is matched by a decrease of similar magnitude in the definite category. These changes are largely due to the lower precision of the 2004 Garamba survey, and to survey estimates obtained using different techniques (Salonga) and different areas (Okapi).

Despite the re-categorization of a large proportion of the DRC's possible elephant range into doubtful range, nearly 30% of remaining range is still only covered by guesses of unknown reliability, and 60% of range remains unassessed.

Cross-border Movements

Elephants move seasonally between the Virunga National Park and the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda (Keigwin, 2001; Mubalama, 2000). Movements may also take place between Virunga's northern sector and the Toro/Semliki range in western Uganda (F. Michelmore, pers. comm., 1998). Movement between the Bili Uere area and Bangassou Forest in the Central African Republic is also possible, but has not been confirmed.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

General Statistics

Country area: 28,050 km2

Range area (% of country): 15,008 km2 (54%)

Protected area coverage (% of country): 17%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 27%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.00

CITES Appendix: I

Listing Year: 1989

Current Issues

Logging and subsistence agriculture are the predominant forms of land use in continental Equatorial Guinea. Elephant hunting and snaring is reported to be widespread, particularly in the dry season, but most elephant meat is consumed locally and does not appear to feature prominently in the bushmeat trade. Crop raiding by elephants is reported to be a problem in some areas, often resulting in retaliatory shooting of elephants, often without the requisite permit from the authorities (Malabo) (Rist, quest. reply, 2005).

Despite the recent development of a model for forest concession management, none of the logging concerns in the country is under best practice management or makes any substantial efforts to control illegal hunting. Preliminary management plans have been drafted for Equatorial Guinea's newly created protected areas, but these remain largely on paper, as the agency mandated with their implementation, the National Institute for Forestry Development (INDEFOR), lacks financial and political support from its parent ministry (CARPE, 2005).

An agreement is expected to be signed between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, leading to the creation of a transfrontier conservation area encompassing the Río Campo Nature Reserve and the Campo-Ma'an protected areas in Cameroon.

Range Data

Much of continental Equatorial Guinea is still covered in tropical forest, and is therefore possible elephant habitat. Nevertheless, elephants are thought to be largely absent from the northern half of the territory, where human population densities are higher than in the south. An exception to this is the Río Campo Nature Reserve in the northwest, where an elephant population of unknown size remains. Only forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) are believed to occur in the country.

The area of known range in Equatorial Guinea has been considerably expanded to cover the Montes Mitra sector of Monte Alén National Park, as well as an area to the east of it, based on information provided by Rist (2005).

Population Data

A survey of the remainder of Monte Alén National Park was to be conducted under the auspices of the CITES MIKE programme by 2004, but was postponed for lack of funds (Blake, 2005). As a result, the guess for Monte Alén featured in the previous report has been retained.

A dung count of the Montes Mitra extension of Monte Alén National Park, conducted between October 2003 and February 2004, estimated elephant density at 0.55 per km2, with an asymmetric 95% confidence interval ranging between 0.37 and 0.81 (Puit & Ghiurghi, 2007). The authors combined this estimated density with data from reconnaissance walks and provided an approximate estimate of 700 elephants in the study area, with a maximum estimate of 1,100. In view of this, as well as of the fact that no confidence limits of elephant numbers were provided, the estimate has been treated as an informed guess. The inclusion of the estimate for this previously unsurveyed area has resulted in increases of 700 and 330 in the possible and speculative categories respectively. However, the vast majority (88%) of estimated range in Equatorial Guinea remains unsurveyed.

Cross-border Movements

Elephants may move between Gabon and southern Equatorial Guinea (L. Arranz, pers. comm., 1995) and possibly between Cameroon's southern forest range and the Río Campo Forest Reserve in northwest Equatorial Guinea (Bekhuis & Prins, 2003), although more survey work is required to establish whether this is the case.

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Informed Guesses 0 0 700 330
Other Guesses 0 0 0 300
TOTALS2006 0 0 700 630
TOTALS 2002 0 0 0 300

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
New Population 0 0 +700 +330
TOTAL CHANGE 0 0 +700 +330

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Possible Range Total Range
Informed Guesses 1,084 0 1,085
Other Guesses 793 4 797
Unassessed Range 1,715 11,411 13,126
TOTAL 3,593 11,415 15,008

EQUATORIAL GUINEA: ELEPHANT ESTIMATES

INPUT ZONE CAUSE OF CHANGE1 SURVEY DETAILS2 NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS SOURCE PFS3 AREA (km2) MAP LOCATION
TYPE RELIAB. YEAR ESTIMATE 95% C.L. LON. LAT.
Monte Alén National Park OG3 E 2002 300 S. Engonga, pers. comm., 2002 2 800 10.2 E 1.6 N
Montes Mitra Sector, Monte Alén National Park NP DC3 D 2004 700 330* Puit & Ghiurghi, 2007 2 1,200 10.0 E 1.4 N

* Range of informed guess

1 Key to Causes of Change: 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

2 Key to Survey Types: AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; 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)

3 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.

GABON

General Statistics

Country area: 267,670 km2

Range area (% of country): 218,985 km2 (86%)

Protected area coverage (% of country): 15%

Protected range (% of known and possible range in protected areas): 17%

Information Quality Index (IQI): 0.33

CITES Appendix: I

Listing Year: 1989

Current Issues

Poaching for bushmeat and ivory is believed to be the chief threat to elephant populations in Gabon, although elephant meat is believed to play a relatively minor role in the bushmeat trade (Lahm, 2002). Poaching is also believed to have been exacerbated in recent years by the opening up of new areas for timber exploitation which, while generally resulting in improved habitat for elephants, also increases access for poachers and facilitates the movement of ivory and bushmeat to market centres.

A number of forest logging companies are nevertheless collaborating with the Government and conservation organizations in monitoring poaching and elephant presence or absence in their concessions. In addition, the Government of Gabon has established provincial wildlife brigades to fight poaching and the Directorate of Wildlife and Game is collaborating with the army on anti-poaching operations (Hakizumwami & Luhunu, 2005).

Gabon is part of the TRIDOM initiative, which aims to create a transboundary conservation area linking Minkébé National Park in Gabon with Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo and the Dja Forest Reserve, Nki and Boumba-Bek National Parks in Cameroon.

Range Data

Elephants are believed to occur through much of Gabon, with the exception of a number of areas with high human population densities. Three-quarters of the country are forested, with a few islands of savanna mainly in the south. Only forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) are believed to occur in Gabon, even in the savanna islands.

Most of the range map is still based on information provided by Lahm (2003), but an area corresponding to the Massif Chaillu, which lies on the border with Congo and to the east of the town of Tchibanga has been categorized as non-range, based on data from Sánchez Ariño (2004). The southeastern half of Plateaux Batéké National Park, where no signs of elephant presence were found in a recent survey (Bout, 2006), has been similarly categorized as non-range. A strip of land along the northern coast of Pongara National Park has been categorized as doubtful range, as the mangrove forest prevalent in the area is generally avoided by elephants (Latour, 2006).

Population Data

A line transect dung count of Minkébé National Park, conducted in 2004 as part of the CITES MIKE programme, found high densities of elephants in the park and surrounding area, giving an estimate of 21,070 ± 7,942 (Blake, 2005).

A dung count of Lopé National Park conducted in 2005, returned an estimate of 2,350 elephants with an asymmetric confidence interval of 1,385 to 4,200 (Maisels et al., 2006). This replaces a previous dung count estimate of 8,132 with an asymmetric confidence interval of 5,229 to 11,766 (Thomas et al., 2001). The apparent difference in the estimates may be explained by the fact that the older survey extended well beyond the park boundaries and covered an area over three times as large.

SUMMARY TOTALS FOR GABON

Data Category DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 1,523 827 827 0
Other Dung Counts 0 22,630 7,965 0
Informed Guesses 0 0 19,119 969
Other Guesses 0 0 0 16,777
TOTALS2006 1,523 23,457 27,911 17,746
TOTALS 2002 0 8,132 14,712 58,309

INTERPRETATION OF CHANGES IN ESTIMATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORT

Cause of Change DEFINITE PROBABLE POSSIBLE SPECULATIVE
Different Technique 0 +22,630 +15,878 0
Different Area +1,523 -7,305 -2,679 0
New Analysis 0 0 0 -40,563
TOTAL CHANGE +1,523 +15,325 +13,199 -40,563

AREA OF RANGE COVERED BY EACH DATA CATEGORY (km2)

Data Category Known Range Total Range
Direct Sample Counts and Reliable Dung Counts 4,640 4,640
Other Dung Counts 13,843 13,843
Informed Guesses 17,278 17,278
Other Guesses 169,003 169,003
Unassessed Range 14,222 14,222
TOTAL 218,985 218,985

GABON: ELEPHANT ESTIMATES

INPUT ZONE CAUSE OF CHANGE1 SURVEY DETAILS2 NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS SOURCE PFS3 AREA (km2) MAP LOCATION
TYPE RELIAB. YEAR ESTIMATE 95% C.L. LON. LAT.
Djouah - Bélinga DT IG3 D 2002 4,035 Lahm & Barnes, quest. reply, 2006 2 4,339 13.6 E 1.2 N
Gamba Reserve Complex IG3 D 1999 11,205 969* Thibault et al., 2001 2 10,485 10.1 E 2.4 S
Ivindo National Park & western buffer zone DT DC2 C 2005 1,216 572 F.G. Maisels, pers. comm., 2006a 3 3,475 12.6 E 0.1 N
Lopé National Park DA DC2 B 2005 2,350 827 Maisels et al., 2006 2 4,486 11.5 E 0.6 S
Minkébé National Park DT DC2 C 2004 21,070 7,942 Blake, 2005 2 7,338 12.7 E 1.8 N
Monts de Cristal DT IG3 D 2001 1,396 Lahm & Barnes, quest. reply, 2006 3 2,083 10.3 E 0.7 N
Mwagne DT IG3 D 2001 2,483 Lahm & Barnes, quest. reply, 2006 3 473 13.8 E 0.5 N
Pongara National Park DT DC2 C 2006 344 152 Latour, 2006 3 380 9.4 E 0.1 N
Rest of Gabon Forest Range NA DC2 E 1988 16,777 Barnes et al., 1995 1 69,018 11.7 E 0.7 S

* Range of informed guess

1 Key to Causes of Change: 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

2 Key to Survey Types: AS: Aerial Sample Count; AT: Aerial Total Count; DC: Dung Count; 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)

3 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.

Ivindo National Park was surveyed in 2005 using the line transect dung count method. This survey gave an estimate of 1,216 with an asymmetric confidence interval of 730 to 2,000 (F.G. Maisels, pers. comm., 2006a). Pongara National Park was also surveyed in 2006 using the same method, giving an estimate of 344 with an asymmetric confidence interval of 276 to 675 (Latour, 2006).

Surveys of Birougou and Loango National Parks were being conducted at the time of writing, but preliminary results suggest densities ranging between 0.1 and 0.4 elephants per km2 in Bigougou and between 0.6 and 1.0 per km2 in Loango (F.G. Maisels, pers. comm., 2006b).

Based on reconnaissance and systematic transect surveys, Lahm (2006) has provided informed guesses for the Djouah-Belinga area as well as Monts de Cristal and Mwagne National Parks. The same informant has also surveyed a number of small areas in the west in recent years, but these have been left out as they overlapped with the Gamba complex, the estimate for which has been retained from the previous report.

With the exception of the estimate for Lopé, all new estimates for Gabon featured in this report replace parts of a nationwide elephant estimate from Barnes (1995, 1997). In order to avoid double counting, an estimate for the areas not covered by the recent surveys has been calculated by applying the density from the lowest elephant density stratum in Barnes (Barnes et al., 1995). The resulting estimate of 16,777 for the rest of the Gabon forest range appears under the speculative category, as the original survey is over 10 years old. As a result of this, the numbers in the definite, probable and possible categories for Gabon have increased since the previous report, but these increases are outweighed by a decrease in the speculative category. None of the new surveys are comparable to the previous estimates, as different areas were covered and different methodologies were employed in some cases. It would therefore be inappropriate to make any comparisons in elephant numbers for Gabon between the previous and this report.

Cross-border Movements

There may be some cross-border movement across the southern border of Equatorial Guinea with Gabon, around the Monts de Cristal area (Lahm & Barnes, quest. reply, 2006), although hunting pressure in the area may be restricting movement. There is also movement between Cameroon and Gabon to the north of Minkébé National Park (Lahm & Barnes, quest. reply, 2006; de Wachter, 2000). Elephants have been seen to cross between northeastern Gabon and northwest Congo across the Ivindo-Ayina and Djouah rivers (Lahm & Barnes, quest. reply, 2006). Movement may also occur between the Plateaux Batéké National Park and Congo, although elephant densities in this area are believed to be low (Lahm & Barnes, quest. reply, 2006). A recent survey in the Mayumba National Park (not shown on map), a coastal and marine national park in the southwest, adjacent to Conkouati-Douli National Park in Congo, confirmed elephant presence right up to the Gabon-Congo border, thus confirming continued elephant movement between the two countries (F.G. Maisels, pers. comm., 2006b).

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