Centuries ago, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) inhabited most of the African continent. Today, elephants are found only south of the Sahara and their range is fragmented and discontinuous. As a result of this range loss and fragmentation, along with poaching of elephants for ivory, elephant numbers declined across the continent. By the 1980s, the decline had provoked serious concern about the long-term survival of the species. This concern highlighted the need to monitor and report the continent-wide status of elephant populations.
The African Elephant Database (AED) aims to satisfy that need. It is a collaborative effort between conservation agencies and researchers in the 37 states that make up the present range of the African elephant. Information on elephant distribution and abundance is gathered by field surveys and questionnaires, and stored in a database using a Geographical Information System (GIS), along with information on other factors such as vegetation type, cover and protected area boundaries. With the African elephant facing increasing pressure from a variety of threats, monitoring elephant range and numbers provides wildlife managers with invaluable data for the effective conservation and management of remaining populations, and decision-makers with information on which to base national and international policies relevant to elephant conservation.
The AED is unique in its capacity to accommodate data of variable reliability - from estimates obtained through systematic total counts to "guesstimates". To learn more about how the African Elephant Database accomplishes this, see the AED Slide Show.
The AED is housed and managed at the African Elephant Specialist Group Secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya. A comprehensive African Elephant Status Report (AESR) is produced and published every three to five years.
Help us update the African Elephant Database!
If you have recent information on elephant distribution and abundance, you can now help us maintain the AED updated by completing the AED Questionnaire.
If you would like to assist in keeping the AED running, please consider making a donation.
The latest report from the African Elephant Database, the African Elephant Status Report 2007 is here! Download it now in PDF by clicking on this link (PDF - 20 Mb), or go to the African Elephant Status Report 2007 page to browse its content.
The AESR 2007 presents the latest information on elephant population estimates and range at the site, national, regional and continental levels.
This edition presents some important new features. New tables assist in interpreting the possible reasons why estimates have changed since the previous edition; comparisons are made for methodologically comparable estimates at the regional level; and a system for prioritizing has been developed to guide governments and funding agencies in planning future surveys.
A small number of hard copies of the AESR 2007 were produced, and these can be obtained through our online store. Get your copy today!
Access current and previous Status Reports from the AED by selecting a year from the menu below and clicking Go: