The Great Elephant Census
This video follows the work of scientists conducting the first census of African savanna elephants in over 40 years and the methods they are using to obtain accurate, up-to-date numbers across the continent.
African elephants are threatened by habitat loss and poaching related to the ivory trade. Conservation groups estimate that as many as 100 elephants are killed each day, so it is critically important to determine how many elephants remain and where they are located. Scientists involved in the Great Elephant Census project (founded and managed by philanthropist Paul G. Allen) are conducting aerial surveys across millions of square kilometers to obtain accurate elephant census data. This video describes the strip transect sampling method they are using and how elephants are counted.
The accompanying “Student Worksheet” incorporates concepts and information from the video.
An audio descriptive version of the film is available via our media player.
Student Learning Targets
- Learn about research practices.
- Develop scientific explanations and justify claims using evidence.
- Calculate elephant density with sample aerial survey data using the strip transect sampling method.
aerial survey, census data, conservation, habitat loss, poaching, savanna, scientific methodology, scientific process, transect sampling
HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6; HS-LS2.A, HS-LS4.C, HS-ESS3.C; SEP4, SEP5
ENE-4.A, ENE-4.B, SYI-3.F, SYI-3.G; SP4, SP5
Topic(s): 9.9, 9.10
Learning Objectives & Practices: EIN-4.B, EIN-4.C, SP1, SP5, SP6
Math.A-REI.3; MP2, MP3
CC5; DP1, DP2