Saturday, December 4, 2021

Census to shed light on elephant population in KAZA

The partner states of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) have announced the launch of a census which will shed light on elephant population in southern Africa.

Botswana is part of the KAZA which was established in 2011 and is situated in a region of Southern Africa where the international borders of five countries converge namely Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

A statement released by KAZA highlighted that “our Coordinating Ministries represent the Republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe where this survey will be conducted. This is a demonstration of our concerted efforts to implement the KAZA Treaty, which calls for regionally integrated approaches towards harmonizing policies, strategies, and practices for managing shared natural resources straddling the international borders of KAZA Partner States”.

KAZA also notes that the aerial survey which will run for four months “will be coordinated by the KAZA Secretariat in close collaboration with designated teams in each of the Partner States and will be based on the recently revised Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) aerial survey standards.”

Among other things, the aerial survey will begin in July 2022 and end in August the same year and will cost $3 million. “Results from the survey will contribute significantly towards the decisions on the sustainable management of KAZA’s elephant population,” reads part of the statement from KAZA.

Early this year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released a report which listed Africa’s Savannah elephants as endangered and its forest elephants as critically endangered. The report also noted that the elephant population in Botswana is increasing. Conservationists believe that the elephant population in Botswana is estimated at 130 000 which is the highest in the world. Zimbabwe is estimated to have 100 000, Namibia 24 000, Zambia 27 000 and Angola has 3 400.

The goal of the KAZA TFCA is to sustainably manage the Kavango Zambezi ecosystem, its heritage and cultural resources based on best conservation models.

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