Verbreitung des Waldelefanten in Gabun

„Der Afrikanische Waldelefant ist stark bedroht. Doch das Aufspüren seines Dungs gibt nun Anlass zur Freude: Im Regenwald von Gabun leben mehr Tiere als bisher geglaubt. […] Die Forschenden schätzen, dass hier rund 95.000 Tiere leben. Zuvor hatte man angenommen, dass dort nur zwischen 50.000 und 60.000 Tiere – und damit rund 65 bis 70 Prozent aller Afrikanischen Waldelefanten – beheimatet sind. “

In: Die Zeit, 3.12.2021

Bildnachweis: Chris Rhoads / Unsplash

Weitere Informationen:

Artikel zur Studie „Nationwide abundance and distribution of African forest elephants across Gabon using non-invasive SNP genotyping“ von Laguardia et al., in: Global Ecology and Conservation Volume 32, December 2021.

Abstract: „Robust monitoring programs are essential for understanding changes in wildlife population dynamics and distribution over time, especially for species of conservation concern. In this study, we applied a rapid non-invasive sampling approach to the Critically Endangered African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), at nationwide scale in its principal remaining population strongholds in Gabon. We used a species-specific customized genetic panel and spatial capture-recapture (SCR) approach, which gave a snapshot of current abundance and density distribution of forest elephants across the country. We estimated mean forest elephant density at 0.38 (95% Confidence Interval 0.24–0.52) per km2 from 18 surveyed sites. We confirm that Gabon is the main forest elephant stronghold, both in terms of estimated population size: 95,110 (95% CI 58,872–131,349) and spatial distribution (250,782 km2). Predicted elephant densities were highest in relatively flat areas with a high proportion of suitable habitat not in proximity to the national border. Protected areas and human pressure were not strong predictors of elephant densities in this study. Our nationwide systematic survey of forest elephants of Gabon serves as a proof-of-concept of application of noninvasive genetic sampling for rigorous population monitoring at large spatial scales. To our knowledge, it is the first nationwide DNA-based assessment of a free-ranging large mammal in Africa. Our findings offer a useful national baseline and status update for forest elephants in Gabon. It will inform adaptive management and stewardship of elephants and forests in the most important national forest elephant stronghold in Africa.“

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