Elephants once occupied a largely continuous range across West Africa, from the coastal forests to the Sahara. The collapse of these once extensive populations, caused by poaching for the ivory trade, human encroachment and the concurrent lack of conservation and scientific attention, has been alarming. Remaining populations are small, highly fragmented and geographically isolated, with over half now containing fewer than 100 individuals (Roth and Douglas-Hamilton 1991; Said et al. 1995; Barnes et al. 1998; Barnes 1999). The population living in the Gourma, which before this survey was estimated to be between 300 and 800, is one of the most important in the West African region and is accorded a high priority in the regional elephant strategy of the IUCN (Worldwide Conservation Union).