oa African Zoology - Status and past and present distribution of elephants in the Kaokoveld, South West Africa/Namibia

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The status and the past and present distribution of elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Kaokoveld are examined. The elephants of the Kaokoveld are divided into a western and eastern 'resident' population with a transitional population in between. In 1983, 357 individual elephants were identified with 70 in the western desert-dwelling population, 207 in the eastern population and 80 in the transitional population. A distinction is made between permanent distribution and occasional wanderings. The available records indicate that elephants were present in the northern Namib Desert long before the advent of western man. From the present data it is also clear that man had little or no influence on the occupation of the western areas by elephants, but since 1880 man has caused a decline in elephant distribution and numbers. Currently the elephant's status there seems relatively stable following intensified law enforcement. However, with the small population sizes, the situation remains vulnerable.

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