Red elephant
Elephant in the Selous ecosystem - sadly a rare sight (Picture by Dr. Christof Schenck/FZS)

Joint press release by the UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND TOURISM and Wildlife Division (WD), Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA), Tanzania Wildlife & Research Institute (TAWIRI), Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and German Development Cooperation (GIZ)

Local and international experts have gathered under the leadership of Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) to carry out an elephant survey of the Selous Ecosystem, commencing on the 4th of October. This census is a critical step towards boosting Tanzania’s resource protection and antipoaching efforts countrywide.

Tanzania, 2 October 2013 
Recent findings illuminate the severity of the poaching crisis in Tanzania, with estimates suggesting that poaching is on the rise in various protected areas, including the Selous Ecosystem. The Selous Game Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site, since 1982 world famous tourist destination, and home to one of Africa’s most important elephant populations. It is also one of the areas hardest hit by the poaching wave. Against the background of this alarming news, Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) is taking proactive steps to address the issue.


To gain a better understanding of the current threats to Tanzania’s elephant populations, national and international experts will now count the elephants in the Selous Ecosystem. As ivory poaching represents one of the major threats to wildlife in Tanzania, understanding and monitoring the distribution and population size of elephants across this ecosystem is a top priority for anti-poaching efforts.

Photos & Contacts

Mr. Twaha Twaibu Publicity Officer 
Wildlife Division 
+255 784 830 884


Mr. Honori Maliti
Head of Conservation & Monitoring Unit

+255 788 384 678

Mr. Pascal Shelutete 
Public Relations Manager 

+255 754 313 248

Mrs. Laura Borner
Africa Communications Manager

+255 783 000 431

Mrs. Corinna Coupette
Natural Resources Mgmt Programme

+255 789 282 778



High-resolution images are available on request.
There will be a press conference at the MNRT building on October 18, 2013, at 4 PM.

Live Updates

TWITTER: Live twitter feeds will be broadcasted using hashtag #ele2013.


FACEBOOK: Updates will also be provided regularly on

Notes for Editors

• Wildlife Division (WD)
The Wildlife Division works to conserve, manage and develop wildlife and wetlands resources, and to ensure their sustainable utilization that will contribute towards poverty reduction.


• Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA)
TANAPA was created in 1959 to manage and regulate the use of areas designated as national parks in Tanzania.


• Tanzania Wildlife & Research Institute (TAWIRI)
TAWIRI is a parastatal organisation under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, responsible for conducting and coordinating wildlife research.


• Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS)
FZS is an internationally operating conservation organisation based in Frankfurt, Germany, with the goal of to protect the natural diversity of species in important ecosystems across the globe. For further information please visit


• German Development Cooperation (GIZ)
GIZ is an experienced service provider and assists the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international development cooperation. For further information, please visit

Background Information

Aerial Census

Aerial animal censuses have been identified as the best way to obtain large mammal population numbers including elephants. Thus, an aerial census will be carried out in the Selous-Mikumi Ecosystem beginning October 4, 2013. This census will establish the baseline data against which management of both areas can be measured. Pursuant to the MNRT’s mandate, all wildlife surveys in Tanzania are carried out under the leadership of the Tanzania Wildlife and Research Institute (TAWIRI). TAWIRI has adopted rigorous training protocols and will carry out this survey under strict international standards. All observers are required to undergo intensive training and certification; and aircraft pilots receive special training and supervision as well.


The Selous Ecosystem

The Selous Ecosystem is well known for its abundance of wildlife, especially elephants, harbouring Africa’s second largest elephant population. Within the Selous Ecosystem, the Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park play an important role in wildlifebased tourism, a critical driver of Tanzania’s economy. Tourism is one of Tanzania’s largest foreign-income earners, providing jobs to over 600,000 people across the country. Therefore, the preservation of the Selous Ecosystem as a site for wildlife-based tourism is also an economic concern.



The MNRT is taking great strides to strengthen resource protection across the country. Under its lead, TAWIRI, which is mandated to carry out all wildlife surveys, TANAPA, which is in charge of Mikumi National Park, and the Wildlife Division, the authority responsible for Selous Game Reserve, are collaborating to monitor and evaluate the current poaching situation in Tanzania.


To conduct the Selous Survey Frankfurt Zoological Society has offered assistance in organising logistics, ground support and an aircraft for the census. The Selous Ecosystem Census is funded by the German Government through GIZ.


International experts and organisations are supporting the census with their expertise. Kenya’s Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) will be sending expert observers to take part in the census; and Save the Elephants, also a Kenya-based organisation, will be providing its expertise on the ground. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will send members from their Africa Elephant Specialist Group to be on-site, facilitating ground efforts. The result of such collaboration will provide credible estimates of current elephant population numbers that will help Tanzanian authorities optimise their strategies for protecting Tanzania’s wildlife and maintaining the highest standards of monitoring and patrolling.


This census displays the dedication and commitment of the Tanzanian Government, the Wildlife Division, and other parastatal organisations to address current poaching threats.



Joint Press Release Elephant Census in Selous/TZ