January 17, 2018
The Project to Combat Wildlife Crime and Ivory Trafficking in Gabon,
abbreviated “Elephant Project”, financed by AFD as part of the Debt
Conversion Agreement between France and Gabon, should improve the status of
elephant populations in Gabon, and strengthen the scientific knowledge of
A mission of the National Agency of National Parks of Gabon (ANPN-Gabon)
was in the North-East of Gabon in the national parks of Ivindo and Mwagna
for this purpose.
Indeed, knowledge of the movements of elephants wearing GPS collars allows
a better understanding of their seasonal movements, identifies key areas
for the maintenance of numbers and connectivity between populations of
elephants, and determines the impact of human activities, and better guides
ANPN’s anti-poaching program as well as human-elephant (CHE) mitigation
In addition, the capturing of elephants for the laying on of collars also
offers the opportunity to collect biological samples and morphological data
on elephants wearing collars during the phases of sleep. The first mission
of the GPS collaring of elephants has taken place in parks of Ivindo and
Mwagna respectively, from 14 to 30 November, and from 01 to December 18,
This activity was carried out by Dr. Pete Morkel (South African
veterinarian) assisted on the ground by Richard Harvey (British
veterinarian), Dr. Patrice Moukouloutou Nzazi (Gabonese veterinarian
responsible for research at IRET), and Malouata Miche and Emile Bebe, two
The ANPN has strengthened the technical task force by integrating from time
to time the two parks ecogardes according to sectors and trackers. Over a
period of 35 days of the mission, the technical team was able to put 18
collars on the elephants, distributed as follows: 8 GPS collars in the
Ivindo National Park and 10 collars in the Mwagna National Park.
The target of 20 collars was not reached, but the mission’s balance sheet
remains positive. All the collars put on work normally, and transmit well
to the satellites. The ANPN’s Operations Center and Scientific Unit observe
daily the movements of these 18 elephants carrying GPS collars.
The genetic samples collected from the 18 elephants have been transported
to the IRET and the ANPN scientific cell, and are being processed in the
analysis laboratories. They will strengthen information and knowledge on
the genetics of Central African elephants.
The technical team plans to visit Minkebe National Park for a second
session of 20 GPS collars between February and March 2018; the two collars
remaining from the first mission will be positioned during the second
This news service is provided by Save the Elephants.