KAZA aerial elephant survey gets underway

By Tichaona Kurewa

The Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) aerial elephant survey, which seeks to determine the number and seasonal distribution of elephants and other large herbivores in the region for planning purposes, is now underway.

This is the first ever coordinated KAZA aerial elephant survey being conducted between August and October this year, a collaborative effort between Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to ascertain the elephant population in the region and inform conservation methods.

KAZA Executive Director, Dr Nyambe Nyambe says the KAZA Elephant Survey began in the Sebungwe Region of northwest Zimbabwe on the 22nd of August.

“Not long after, following the mounting of high-resolution oblique digital (MWS) cameras on the planes, flying began in Kafue, Zambia on the 26th of August 2022. Plans indicate an anticipated three weeks to complete the northwest Matabeleland area in Zimbabwe before crossing over to Botswana where flying is expected to start mid-October 2022. In parallel, the survey operations room, hosted by the Republic of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks is in full swing in Kasane,” he said.

Conservationist, Mr Malvern Karidozo spoke on the importance of the aerial elephant survey.

“The survey is key for administration purposes and others. Organisations like Zimparks need to know the numbers of these animals especially when issuing hunting permits and other related decisions that may need to be made.

Available statistics indicate that KAZA is home to approximately half of Africa’s savannah elephants, currently estimated at 220 000 and spanning over five southern African countries including Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.