Journal of Tropical Ecology

Research Article

An estimate of the numbers of forest elephants in Gabon

R. F. W. Barnesa1 c1, A. Bloma2 p1, M. P. T. Alersa2 p2 and K. L. Barnesa2 p3

a1 NZYS The Wildlife Conservation Society and Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, USA

a2 NZYS The Wildlife Conservation Society


The number of elephants living in the forests of Gabon was estimated by a stratified dung survey. The forest zone was stratified according to the distribution of the human population. The density of dung-piles was estimated for each stratum by the line-transect method. The total number of dung-piles in the forests of Gabon was estimated to be 52.43 × 106 ± 13.25 × 106. This gave an elephant estimate of 61,800 ±20,200. This survey shows Gabon to have one of the largest elephant populations on the continent.

(Accepted February 12 1994)


c1 Department of Biology, 0116, U.C. San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093–0116, USA (tel: 619–534–8863; fax: 619-534-7108).

p1 Present address: P. N. Dzangha-Ndoki, B.P. 1053, Bangui, Central African Republic.

p2 Present address: 06 B.P. 948, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

p3 Present address: San Diego Zoological Society, P.O. Box 551, San Diego, CA 92112–0551, USA.