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Unveiling of KAZA Elephant Survey Results and Launch Event

On this day, exactly a year ago, the first two flights took to the skies in Zimbabwe, marking the start of the flying component of the 2022 KAZA Elephant Survey.  Flying was completed on 28 October 2022, resulting in a total of 700 hours of flying spread over 68 days spent collecting data.

Data analysis was finalised in March this year, culminating in a comprehensive technical report documenting the implementation process and outcomes of the survey, which was completed in May 2023. Following consultation with the African Elephant Specialist Group, an independent review of the technical report was undertaken by three leading experts who submitted their report to the KAZA Secretariat with the following observations:

The 2022 KAZA Elephant Survey was a remarkable achievement, since it was the first time that Africa’s largest elephant population was surveyed in a single, fully coordinated exercise. Considerable effort was put into ensuring that the survey was conducted according to CITES MIKE Aerial Survey Standards (CITES MIKE standards). These efforts were largely successful, and the survey has set a new benchmark for strip-sampled aerial surveys for elephants. The principal objective of the survey, achieving a precise and accurate estimate of the number of live elephants in the KAZA TFCA, has been achieved within the generally understood limitations of the technique.” – Independent Expert Reviewers.

The KAZA Elephant Survey coordination team has since addressed feedback from the independent review process. In parallel, preparations are underway for a launch event on 31 August 2023 from 14h30 until 17h00 Central African Time (CAT), during which results of the KAZA Elephant Survey will be publicly announced in Livingstone, Zambia

The Executive Director of the KAZA Secretariat, Dr. Nyambe Nyambe, shared some reflections on the upcoming launch: “Getting to this stage of the survey is exciting for all of us. After meticulous planning and execution of this large-scale scientific project, it is befitting that we announce the launch of the survey results on the same day when flying for the survey began last year. We can now look forward to the implementation of recommendations going forward.”

Attendance of the launch event will be limited to the KAZA Partner States, donors and international cooperation partners that supported the survey, regional and international media, and NGO partners that supported various aspects of the survey from planning to implementation. The event will, however, be livestreamed, meaning the public will be able to follow the event on social media in real time on the KAZA YouTube page.

The methodology, scale, and scope of the survey was the first of its kind, with coordinated flying covering almost 60% of the 520,000km² KAZA landscape. It is a strategic activity of the KAZA Strategic Planning Framework for the Conservation and Management of Elephants (2019) undertaken to establish a relatively precise and accurate estimate of the number of African savannah elephants KAZA’s contiguous elephant population. It also estimated carcasses and the distribution of elephants and other large wild and domestic herbivores. Results of the survey will therefore provide updated knowledge on population status, habitats, and other factors important for policy and the management of elephants in KAZA.

The KAZA Secretariat and Partner States would like to express our sincere gratitude to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the implementation partner for the survey, and the KAZA Elephant Survey donors and international cooperation partners comprising the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and Vulcan, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through KfW, the Dutch Postcode Lottery through the Dreamfund Project, USAID’s Combating Wildlife Crime in Namibia and the Kavango-Zambezi Area Project, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, WWF – US, Panthera, and the EU-funded CITES MIKE Programme.

About KAZA TFCA Secretariat

The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) Secretariat was established in 2011 by the KAZA Partner States comprising the Republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to manage the day-to-day operations of the TFCA. Its overall mandate is to develop KAZA TFCA into a world-class conservation area and premier tourism destination. This mandate is executed under the guidance of the KAZA Partner States with support from development partners and a consortium of stakeholders.

For further information about KAZA: https://www.kavangozambezi.org and https://www.youtube.com/@kazatfca3870.