The elephant population in Tanzania has now fallen to 43,330, according to Natural Resources and Tourism minister Lazaro Nyalandu.
The number represents several thousand drop from the last count, in a country where back in 1979 there were over 315,000 elephants.
“Rungwa has become a slaughterhouse,” says Nyalandu, who announced the latest figures of a new aerial survey on Monday.
Rungwa is a game reserve bordering Ruaha National Park.
“Ruaha is one thing, but Rungwa I believe is the epicentre of where all the trouble has come from,” says Nyalandu, who says the Ruaha-Rungwa area suffered a loss from 20,000 in 2013 to 8,272 in 2014.
In April, ITV alleged that half the elephants in Ruaha, one of the largest national parks in Africa, were killed by poachers in a year: from 8,500 in 2014 to 4,200 in early 2015.
At the time the allegations of a ‘major mortality’ were ‘categorically denied.’
In other parts of Tanzania the numbers are up, says Nyalandu.
In both the Serengeti and Arusha National Park, elephant numbers have nearly doubled; solid increases have also been reported in Tarangire and Manyara.
Nyalandu also announced new anti-poaching measures, more rangers in hard hit areas and a national strategy to increase successful prosecutions against poachers.
The census covered 28 percent of Tanzania.
Read more: Media: half of Ruaha’s elephants killed