ID Database

We believe that the most accurate way of getting to know a population size, is knowing every single Elgon elephant individually. Knowing numbers and demographic structure of an elephant population is crucial to understand its social dynamics and local habitat needs. This basic knowledge is a basic prerequisite for the implementation of target-oriented conservation actions e.g. concerning mitigating conflicts with people or habitat loss.
Particularly forest-dwelling animals like Mt Elgon´s elephants are not easy to count or observe because of hindered visibility.

Up to date, there is no identification (ID) database established for Mt Elgon´s elephants. With the help of the experienced MEEM team and modern scientific research tools, we build up a modern ID database which includes the resident elephants on Mt Elgon. Mt Elgon Elephant Database will be a solid basis for future conservation strategies and further scientific investigations in the cross-boundary ecosystem.

We are giving special importance to non-invasive research methods, not only to prevent undermining gained success in MEEM team’s habituation process of the elephants but also to avoid stressing the animals.


A comprehensive range of information will be available from MECEP surveys. Here is an exerpt from the future ID database: “M01″, an adult male of Mt Elgon’s elephant population

The first step in the system is identification of basic information on the individual:

  • Name: Bull
  • ID number: M 01
  • Sex: male
  • Date of birth: unknown

status 2012

In the field, we will take reference pictures of the individual by using a digital camera.
You can use many different characteristics to identify and describe an African elephant: sex, body size, shape, the tusks, the ears…

Special characteristic of Mt Elgon’s elephants: the short tusks

It is the prize of salt lure: The scraping wears their tusks down, leaving the elephant’s tusks quite shorter than elephants living in other parts of Kenya.

Genetic surveys will allow to determine kinship degree and population trends of Mt Elgon’s elephants.