Monday, October 03, 2016

The African Elephant Atlas


The Paul G. Allen Project has carried out a huge census to count Africa's savanna elephants. During the census the project surveyed over 350,000 square miles of land in 18 different countries. You can now explore the outcomes of this census on the African Elephant Atlas.

The Atlas maps the results of the census, showing the density of African elephants in the 18 countries surveyed. The census recorded 352,271 elephants in total. This represents a decrease in the elephant population of around 30% in just the last seven years. A fall that is mainly attributed to the illegal poaching of African elephants.

The African Elephant Atlas includes a mapped visualization of how the project carried out the census, using planes to conduct aerial surveys of the 18 countries. It also includes a number of tools which allow you to explore and query the census data by country, stratum and individual survey flight.


You can learn more about the habitats and the lives of African elephants with the Samburu National Reserve Street View Tour. Save the Elephants has been working for over 20 years with the elephants in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya.

Google's Street View Trek provides a wonderful tour around Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, in which you will be introduced to some of the park's elephant families. The tour also explains the work of Save the Elephants, who are working hard to protect and save Africa's elephants.

The tour explains how Save the Elephants monitors elephants on the ground, from the air and via GPS tracking. The organisation also patrols the park, protecting the elephants from poachers and works to rehabilitate injured and orphaned elephants.


Elephants are tracked not only to try and stop poachers but also to help scientists learn more about the lives of these amazing creatures. Elephants: Year in a Day shows the patterns of movement of five bull elephants in Laikipia County, Kenya.

This visualization uses Google Maps with CartoDB's Torque library to animate 34,786 GPS positions of the five elephants, captured over the course of one year. This year's worth of location data from the five elephants has been compressed into a single day on the map to illustrate the general pattern of movement of the bull elephants, regardless of season or individual.

The map also highlights local land use, displaying cultivated land and safe habitats through the use of colored polygon overlays. The land tract overlays help to highlight where the bull elephants have been accessing farmed land and raiding crops under the cover of darkness.
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