Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Temporal trends in elephant Loxodonta africana numbers and densities in northern Botswana: is the population really increasing?

  • Jessica Junker (a1), Rudi J. van Aarde (a1) and Sam M. Ferreira (a1)

The apparent increase in elephant Loxodonta africana numbers in northern Botswana is of concern because it may affect other species. We compared changes in population growth rates based on elephant numbers and densities over 1973–2004. Population estimates and survey details extracted from published and unpublished sources allowed us to calculate growth rates. From 1973 to 1993 growth rate was positive when based on elephant numbers but did not differ from zero when calculated for densities. This discrepancy may be because of the significant increase in survey area during the same period. In contrast, none of the growth rates differed from zero for time series between 1996 and 2004, when the size of the survey area varied little. We propose two explanations for these results. The first suggests that the population did not grow, while the second proposes that the population expanded its range and increased in size. Notwithstanding, an equilibrium model best explained the variance in dry season estimates of elephant numbers for the complete time series. Such apparent density-dependence could be disrupted by any artificial reduction of numbers through culling as a management option in northern Botswana.

Corresponding author
*Conservation Ecology Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa. E-mail
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

G.W. Calef (1988) Maximum rate of increase in the African elephant. African Journal of Ecology, 26, 323328.

S. Chamaillé-Jammes , M. Valeix & F. Hervé (2007) Managing heterogeneity in elephant distribution: interactions between elephant population density and surface-water availability. Journal of Applied Ecology, 44, 625633.

K.J. Gaston , T.M. Blackburn & R.D Gregory . (1999) Does variation in census area confound density comparisons? Journal of Applied Ecology, 36, 191204.

M. Grainger , R.J. van Aarde & I. Whyte (2005) Landscape heterogeneity and the use of space by elephants in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. African Journal of Ecology, 43, 369375.

M. Herremans (1995) Effects of woodland modification by African elephant Loxodonta africana on bird diversity in northern Botswana. Ecography, 18, 440454.

B.F.J. Manly (1991) Randomization and Monte Carlo Methods in Biology. Chapman & Hall, London, UK.

D.A. Melton (1985) The status of elephants in northern Botswana. Biological Conservation, 31, 317333.

R.J. Van Aarde & T.P. Jackson (2007) Megaparks for metapopulations: addressing the causes of locally high elephant numbers in southern Africa. Biological Conservation, 134, 289297.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 19 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 66 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.