World Conservation Society


Tanzania’s Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and WCS have released results of our latest extensive aerial wildlife survey conducted across the Ruaha-Katavi landscape. Covering 77,000 square kilometres, the 20-day survey consisted of 380 aerial transects using 3 planes manned by an expert team of pilots and observers. An estimated 20,145 elephants were recorded, showing that elephant numbers have stabilised.

Far fewer carcasses were observed than in previous surveys, and happily the population shows signs of recovery. The survey also confirmed the status of 29 other key large mammal species, including 44,110 buffalo, 14,530 impala, 11,722 zebra, 11,733 eland, 5,145 giraffe and 7,573 sable. A concerning drop in impala numbers was recorded in Katavi but the puku results are exciting, showing that this landscape is now home to the largest of Tanzania’s two remaining populations. For the last six years, WCS has worked with the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) to support communities and law enforcement, including ranger training, rapid response units, SMART law enforcement monitoring, daily aerial reconnaissance, intelligence and evidence gathering, infrastructure and working with villages in key wildlife corridors. In the words of Dr Simon Mduma, Director General of TAWIRI, “It is very encouraging to see stability in wildlife numbers in this vital landscape, and we believe this shows clearly that the conservation efforts of TAWA, TANAPA and WCS are succeeding.”

The aircraft for the survey work were provided by WCS and TAWIRI, and funded by WCS, USAID, the Government of Tanzania, and the Wyss Foundation and the Wyss Campaign for Nature.

The full press release can be accessed here;