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KAZA elephant survey data analysis underway

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

DATA analysis for an aerial survey to determine the number of elephants in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) is almost complete, with final results expected mid-year.

The aerial survey, which began in August, also seeks to determine the seasonal distribution of the elephants and other large herbivores in the region.

KAZA authorities this Thursday indicated that a technical report will be produced next month after the data analysis stage.

KAZA executive director Dr Nyambe Nyambe noted, ‘‘Currently, the coordination team is in the final stages of analysis and preparing the technical report, which is expected to be completed in March/April 2023. After review by the KAZA partner states, the report will undergo an independent review by three experts.

“The report will be prepared in accordance with requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) aerial survey reporting standards. The KAZA Secretariat expects to release the final report to the public in May/June 2023.’’

The survey is vital for planning purposes in the wake of an increase in cases of human-wildlife conflict, amid revelations that nearly 400 Zimbabwean lives have been lost to human-wildlife conflict in the past five years.

This is the first ever coordinated KAZA aerial elephant survey and a collaborative effort between Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other supporting partners.

Statistics indicate that KAZA is home to approximately half of Africa’s savannah elephants, estimated at 220 000 and spanning over five Southern African countries.

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