Counting elephants: The largest wildlife census ever conducted

The Great Elephant Census, funded by Microsoft billionaire Paul G. Allen, began in February 2014 and is beginning to deliver results. Ninety researchers from various organizations have joined aerial teams flying survey transects in 18 elephant range countries. Preliminary results reveal both good and bad news for African elephants. One of the most shocking discoveries is a 53 percent free fall in elephant numbers in Tanzania—from an estimated 109,000 animals in 2009 to 51,000 in 2015. For the past decade Tanzania has been the main source of illegal elephant ivory shipped out of East Africa. On the positive side:  Botswana’s elephant population has remained stable, with an estimated 129,939 recorded in 2014 (similar to 2013). Uganda showed a surprising uptick, from fewer than 1,000 elephants during the 1970s and 1980s, when poaching was rampant, to an estimated 5,000 today.

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Counting elephants: The largest wildlife census ever conducted

The Great Elephant Census, funded by Microsoft billionaire Paul G. Allen, began in February 2014 and is beginning to deliver results. Ninety researchers from various organizations have joined aerial teams flying survey transects in 18 elephant range countries. Preliminary results reveal both good and bad news for African elephants. One of the most shocking discoveries is a 53 percent free fall in elephant numbers in Tanzania—from an estimated 109,000 animals in 2009 to 51,000 in 2015. For the past decade Tanzania has been the main source of illegal elephant ivory shipped out of East Africa. On the positive side:  Botswana’s elephant population has remained stable, with an estimated 129,939 recorded in 2014 (similar to 2013). Uganda showed a surprising uptick, from fewer than 1,000 elephants during the 1970s and 1980s, when poaching was rampant, to an estimated 5,000 today.

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