Status of wildlife populations and land degradation in Botswana’s forest reserves and Chobe district


  • Michael Chase


Elephants Without Borders conducted dry (Sept. 2011) and wet (Mar. 2012) season aerial surveys of elephants and wildlife in the Chobe District of northern Botswana to provide recent information on the status of wildlife numbers and their seasonal distribution. The aerial surveys were commissioned by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) and funded largely by Forest Conservation Botswana. A small fixed wing plane was used to fly a stratified sample survey, with parallel transects over the Chobe Distinct a survey area of about 22560 km2 in extent. It included Chobe National Park (NP), Chobe Forest Reserve (FR), Kasane FR and Extension, Kazuma FR, Sibuyu FR and Maikaelelo FR, and surrounding Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the Chobe District. The principal objective of this survey was to provide relatively precise and accurate estimates of wildlife in the survey area, using a method, which could be repeated. Secondary objectives included mapping the spatial distribution of elephants and other wildlife, distribution of elephant carcasses, baobab trees and large birds. The methods used were suitable for meeting the survey objectives, repeatability and technically robust. Thus this survey provides a baseline for monitoring future trends in the numbers and spatial distribution of wildlife in Chobe. This report provides the results of these two seasonal surveys, in addition to information on the spatial distribution, and abundance of wildlife and trends of elephant numbers. Maps and tables illustrating the distribution, numbers, density and trends of wildlife species in the survey area are provided.