Pachyderm No. 53 January–June 2013
This paper updates the data on the population status of elephants in the Tsavo–Mkomazi ecosystem. Data were acquired through aerial census of elephants in the ecosystem, from 7 to 12 February 2011. The census covered an area approximately 48,319 km2, which was divided into 44 counting blocks. Each block was assigned to a specific aircraft; the crew consisted of a pilot, front-seat observer and two rear-seat observers for the four-seater light aircraft, and a pilot and an observer for a two-seater light aircraft. The census lasted five days and involved nine light aircraft and about 252 hours of actual counting time, representing a mean search rate of about 191 km2/hr. A total of 12,573 elephants were counted, indicating a modest increase of 2% after the 2008 census and a 96% increase after the 1988 census (n = 6,399).