On the road to extinction? The status of elephant Loxodonta africana in Guinea Bissau and western Guinea, West Africa
We carried out a nationwide survey of elephant Loxodonta africana in Guinea Bissau, a small West African country for which records of elephant are limited. We also investigated parts of western Guinea along the border with Guinea Bissau likely to harbour a transboundary elephant population. Standardized interviews with hunters were held in 110 villages in Guinea Bissau and 60 villages in Guinea, and field surveys were carried out to validate interviewee responses. Results suggest that elephants are mainly restricted to an area between the Corubal River (Guinea Bissau) and the Kogon River (Guinea) and that elephants occur only seasonally in Guinea. Based on the number, geographical localization and interpretation of observed tracks, our estimate of the minimum number of elephants in Guinea Bissau is 4–10 animals. We did not observe any signs of young elephants. The most immediate threat to elephants is a road scheme between Guinea Bissau and Guinea that cuts through elephant range. The future of elephants in this region depends on the capacity of the two countries to manage their common elephant population jointly. In particular, the creation of a transboundary park is urgently needed.(Published Online January 5 2007)
(Received December 22 2004)
(Revised April 20 2005)
(Accepted October 18 2005)
Key Words: Elephants; extinction; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Loxodonta africana; small population; West Africa.
c1 Correspondence: Projet AGIR, Délégation Union Européenne, BP 730 Conakry, République de Guinée. E-mail email@example.com
p1 Current address: SECA-BRLi, 1105 Avenue Pierre-Mendes France, 30001 Nîmes Cedex 5, France