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Species Range

In 2007, the IUCN published the African Elephant Status Report, which included data on the range and population estimates for elephants across Africa. They gathered data from a variety of organizations that monitor local elephant populations. In order to determine the entire elephant range, they gathered evidence of elephant presence or absence in an area, which includes direct observations and indirect signs such as elephant dung and footprints. For each data source, they classified the range information into one of four categories:

  • Known Range – areas where elephant presence has been confirmed within the past 10 years and the habitat is still suitable for elephants.
  • Possible Range – areas within the historical elephant range where the habitat is suitable and there is no data to rule out the presence of elephants. This area includes former "known" elephant range where data is more than 10 years old.
  • Doubtful Range – areas where there is evidence to suggest that elephants are not present, but no rigorous survey data exist to confirm their absence. If an area is extensively surveyed and the absence of elephants is confirmed, the area is reclassified as "non-range."
  • Non-Range – areas where the absence of elephants has been confirmed, either through extensive surveys or habitat modifications that would make the habitat unsuitable for elephants.

The map shows the "known" and "possible" range combined of elephants across Africa based on this 2007 study.

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