African Wildlife Conservation The Great Elephant

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What do you do if you want to make a difference with all your wealth? Well, billionaire Paul Allen has decided to follow the philanthropic path by financing the Great Elephant census, the largest aerial view of the African savannah Elephant population to date. Read more about the results of these surveys in this article.

The Great Elephant Census: a survey of Elephants across Africa

The Great Elephant Census (GEC) is the most ambitious survey on the African bush elephant. Funded by the pockets of Paul Allen, this unique census project aims to revolutionize the conservation of species on the continent through scientific research and methodology.

By collecting so much data on the number of elephants (formerly very not-known and outdated information), the GEC can provide a good picture of the current state of African Elephants throughout their range. It aimed to answer many questions about the distribution and trends of the population, an urgent problem that species conservation was facing at the time.

In addition, by collecting such data, scientists, policymakers and other conservationists can develop better strategies to protect these iconic animals from poaching and other threats such as habitat loss.

To get an accurate count of the African elephant population, Allen’s team flew more than 290,000 kilometers of flight time in the air. They used specially equipped aircraft with advanced cameras capable of detecting Elephants at high altitudes — something that has never been possible until now!

The GEC has not only changed the way we count and monitor African Elephants, but also the way we prioritize conservation efforts and develop better strategies to preserve them in the long term.

Why species conservation is important

Whether you are an animal lover, an environmentalist or just like to get outside, there is no denying that elephants are a key species for the health of our planet.

Elephants are essential to the balance of grasslands and forests, distributing seeds that help form new trees and influencing the water cycle by digging water holes during dry seasons.

The survey revealed that the populations of African savannah Elephants decreased significantly (about 30%) between 2007 and 2014 due to poaching for the unlawful ivory trade and human-animal conflicts. Just like the giraffe, these awesome creatures are facing a massive silent extinction.

For this reason, the protection of African Elephants is essential to save species from extinction and preserve the biodiversity of all the ecosystems in which they live.

The census helps to identify the remaining important habitats where viable elephant populations still exist and provides important data for effective strategies to protect them. With this knowledge, we can take steps towards a future that will include healthy elephant populations — and a healthier planet!

Methodology

One thing you may not know is that without the great Elephant census, we would not know the extent of the damage caused to elephant populations around the world. The census was created by billionaire Paul Allen as part of his commitment to protect and research wildlife.

So how did it work out?

Aerial examination

A team of experienced pilots and observers covered vast expanses of land and counted the Elephants according to a standardized protocol. This method allowed the GEC to cover large areas quickly and efficiently while minimizing the risk of double counting.

Soil studies

Teams of researchers and conservationists conducted ground studies to verify the accuracy of the aerial counts and collect additional data on the behavior, habitat and other factors of the Elephants.

Tracking The Collar

The GEC also used GPS location collars to monitor the movements of individual elephants, which allowed the researchers to better understand their behavior, migration patterns and habitat use.

Shit matters

In some areas where aerial photography was difficult or impractical, the GEC used manure counting to estimate elephant populations. This involved collecting and analyzing elephant manure samples to determine the number and distribution of Elephants in a given area.

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