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Devastating decline of forest elephants in Central Africa

Fiona Maisels et al. /  Plos One / March 4, 2013


African forest elephants– taxonomically and functionally unique–are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002–2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped.

Organized crimes against nature: Elephants in Southern Africa

Adrian A. Lopes / Natural Resource Modeling / February 2015



Poaching of elephants in Southern Africa is now dominated by international groups following a model of organized crime. This shift, from poaching conducted by small, local groups; with limited mobility, weapons, and technology, to individuals who organize, finance, equip, and transport well-armed poaching units to previously scouted locations, has made the pro- tection of elephants in Southern Africa much more difficult and dangerous. This paper develops a model of high-tech criminal poaching.


Disruption of rhino demography by poachers may lead to population declines in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sam M. Ferreira et al. / Plos One / June 29, 2015


The onslaught on the World’s rhinoceroses continues despite numerous initiatives aimed at curbing it. When losses due to poaching exceed birth rates, declining rhino populations result. We used previously published estimates and growth rates for black rhinos (2008) and white rhinos (2010) together with known poaching trends at the time to predict population sizes and poaching rates in Kruger National Park, South Africa for 2013. Kruger is a stronghold for the south-eastern black rhino and southern white rhino. Counting rhinos on 878 blocks 3x3 km in size using helicopters, estimating availability bias and collating observer and detectability biases allowed estimates using the Jolly’s estimator.

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