Dry season fixed-wing aerial survey of elephants and wildlife in Northern Botswana, September - November 2010


  • Michael Chase


During the 2010 dry season, a fixed-wing aerial survey of elephants and wildlife was flown over the core conservation areas of northern Botswana. This aerial survey was commissioned by Elephant Without Borders and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP). A small fixed wing plane was used to fly a stratified sample survey, with parallel transects over the survey area, 73478km2. It included Moremi Game Reserve (GR), Chobe National Park (NP), Makgadikgadi Nxai Pan NP and surrounding Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the Ngamiland, Chobe and Central districts. 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 northern Botswana. This is the first independent aerial survey across northern Botswana to provide concession level wildlife estimates. This report provides the results of this survey, in addition to information on the spatial distribution, and abundance of wildlife and trend of elephant numbers. Maps and tables illustrating the distribution, numbers, density and trends of wildlife species in northern Botswana are provided.