Today on World Elephant Day, The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) Secretariat announced that preparations for a KAZA-wide synchronised aerial survey have been stepped up to determine accurate numbers and seasonal distributions of the African Savannah elephants found in the landscape.
In a press statement earlier today, and joining the rest of the world in commemorating the 2021 World Elephant Day, KAZA Secretariat Executive Director, Dr Nyambe Nyambe stated, “We cannot imagine a world without the elephants given their incalculable importance to the ecosystems, livelihoods of approximately 2.5 million people living in the KAZA region and socio-economic development of the Partner States. The Partner States are committed to and prioritise the creation of safe havens for the elephants.”
KAZA’s evolving conservation success story – as evidenced by the stable, and in some areas growing elephant populations, has been the result of the deliberate policies, decisions and actions by the Partner States. To date, key milestones achieved in preparation for the survey include the development of a standardized methodology consistent with the recently revised MIKE aerial survey standards (CITES MIKE 2020) and securing nearly 80% of the approximately USD 3 million budget required.
Partner States are set to officially launch the survey during the fourth quarter of 2021 with the actual survey implementation scheduled for the dry season, July-October 2022. The aerial survey aligns with and builds on Partner States’ recognition that connectivity across the broader KAZA landscape is essential for the future of the region’s wildlife, including elephants, and this must be underpinned by sound ecological understanding of wildlife movements and other dynamics.
As the world celebrates World Elephant Day, stakeholders are encouraged to note and reflect on the responsibility that Partner States carry in managing the globally significant elephant population in KAZA TFCA.