Elephants of south-east Angola in war and peace: their decline, re-colonization and recent status
Publication Year:
Angola's intermittent 27-year civil war displaced over four million people and decimated wildlife populations. During the 1980s, African elephants (Loxodonta africana Blumenbach) in Angola drew international alarm with reports of 100,000 elephants killed. Luiana Partial Reserve (PR), a conservation area in south-east Angola, was the military operations centre for UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), which used elephant ivory to pay for arms and meat. However, the full impact of the civil war on elephants is uncertain because there are no reliable estimates of Angolan elephant populations. Following the end of the civil war in 2002, our three aerial surveys of Luiana PR indicated that elephant numbers are increasing rapidly, from 366 in January 2004 to 1827 in November 2005, and expanding their range in the Reserve. Concurrently, elephants tagged with satellite collars in northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip, Namibia, moved into Luiana PR. To facilitate re-colonization and conservation of elephants and other wildlife in Luiana PR, we recommend: (i) realignment of the veterinary fence on the Botswana-Namibia border; (ii) development of effective land use management and anti-poaching programmes; (iii) clearing of landmines; (iv) designation of the Reserve a national park; and (v) development of ecotourism and community conservation programmes. Keywords: aerial surveys, African elephant, Angola, civil war, ivory, Luiana Partial Reserve.
Publication Title:
African Journal of Ecology
Item Type:
Journal Article

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