Large-scale elephant survey underway

By Confidente Reporter

THE Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZATFCA) secretariat joined the rest of the world in commemorating the 2021 World Elephant Day and reaffirmed its commitment to coordinating efforts of the five partner states and various stakeholders in the management of the remaining African savannah elephants found in the landscape.

“We cannot imagine a world without the elephants given their incalculable importance to the ecosystems and livelihoods of approximately 2.5 million people living in the KAZA region and socio- economic development of the partner states.
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The partner states are committed to and prioritise, the creation of safe havens for the elephants,” highlighted KAZA secretariat executive director Dr Nyambe Nyambe.

KAZA’s evolving conservation success story – as evidenced by the stable and in some areas growing elephant populations – has been the result of deliberate policies, decisions and actions by the partner states.

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The KAZA secretariat said it is also pleased that significant progress has been made in preparing for KAZA-wide synchronised aerial survey to determine numbers and seasonal distributions.

“As KAZA secretariat, we appreciate the importance and magnitude of the survey. We are taking the necessary measures to ensure that there is effective coordination and management of the survey.
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The support being rendered by different stakeholders is encouraging and strengthens our confidence that the synchronised trans boundary survey will be successful, on time, and within budget,” said Nyambe.

To date, key milestones achieved in preparation for the survey include the development of a standardised methodology consistent with the recently revised MIKE aerial survey standards (CITES MIKE 2020) and securing nearly 80 percent of the approximately US$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 to 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 celebrated World Elephant Day, stakeholders were encouraged to reflect on the responsibility that partner states carry in managing the globally significant elephant population in KAZATFCA.

The Kavango Zambezi Trans frontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) secretariat was established in 2011 by the KAZA partner states to manage the day-to-day operations of the TFCA.

Its overall mandate is to facilitate the development of KAZA TFCA into a world-class conservation area and premier tourism destination. This mandate is executed under the guidance of KAZA with support from development partners and a consortium of stakeholders.