What does knowing these numbers do, other than make our hearts sink? The hope is that the data will actually help conservationists save elephants.
"I'm a big believer in the power of data to help inform decisions," billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen, whose foundation backed the census, told National Geographic. "We have to make faster, smarter, better decisions about how and where we direct limited resources."
"They are our living dinosaurs, the romance of a bygone era," Chase said, "and if we can't conserve the African elephants, I'm fearful to think about the fate of rest of Africa's wildlife."
Learn what you can do to save elephants here.