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Dung Transects

photo of researchers performing a dung transect

Researchers perform a dung transect in Mbam et Djeram National Park in Cameroon. Photo by David Nzouango of WCS Cameroon.

Dung transects are the most common technique for surveying forest elephant populations. The dense forest vegetation makes it difficult to count elephants directly, so an indirect method, such as counting dung, is necessary. Dr. Fiona Maisels of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has helped to design and implement survey methods for primates and forest elephants. She and her colleagues gathered data from dung transect surveys performed in five countries in central Africa to estimate the changing sizes of the forest elephant population.

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