Abstract: Increasing habitat fragmentation and human population growth in Africa has resulted in an escalation in human–elephant conflict between small-scale farmers and free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta Africana). In 2012 Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) implemented the national 10-year Conservation and Management Strategy for the Elephant in Kenya, which includes an action aimed at testing whether beehive fences can be used to mitigate human–elephant conflict. From 2012 to 2015, we field-tested the efficacy of beehive fences to protect 10 0.4-ha farms next to Tsavo East National Park from elephants. We hung a series of beehives every 10 m around the boundary of each farm plot. The hives were linked with strong wire.
The 1990s have been the first years since the 1960s that Kenya’s elephants have not substantially declined in numbers. Major savannah populations such as Tsavo, Laikipia–Samburu and Amboseli have increased significantly; others such as Mara and Meru have remained stable. Status of forest populations surveyed using dung counts is little known. Given the low confidence in such estimates, other indicators of population trends are employed. Forest area has declined, particularly in the major elephant ranges of Mt Kenya, the Aberdares and the Mau complex, as forests have been converted to farmland. There is no evidence that forest populations were affected by massive poaching of savannah-living elephants in the 1970s and 1980s. Density of most forest populations appear to be moderately high (more than 1 elephant per km2) and thus are unlikely to increase substantially.
Theo m?t báo cáo m?i phát hành ngày hôm nay c?a T? ch?c Save the Elephants, Vi?t Nam hi?n là m?t trong nh?ng th? tr??ng kinh doanh ngà voi trái phép l?n nh?t trên th? gi?i. Qua th?ng kê, s? l??ng s?n ph?m ???c buôn bán ?ã t?ng h?n sáu l?n t? n?m 2008 ??n n?m 2015.
Ngoài Vi?t Nam, ch?a có qu?c gia nào ???c ghi nh?n có các ho?t ??ng trong c? hai l?nh v?c: nh?p kh?u trái phép các lo?i ngà voi d?ng thô và xu?t kh?u trái phép các thành ph?m t? ngà voi. T?ng c?ng, có t?i 242 ?i?m tiêu th?/ ??i ly?, bày bán 16.099 s?n ph?m có ngu?n g?c t? ngà voi cho các ??i t??ng khách hàng bán l?, ???c phát hi?n t?i TP. H? Chí Minh (TP. HCM), TP. Buôn Ma Thu?t, Hà N?i và các khu v?c làng xã lân c?n. Theo m?t báo cáo công b? n?m 2008, s? l??ng s?n ph?m ngà voi bày bán ch? ??t m?c 2.444 s?n ph?m.
Testimony for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy Hearing on “Stemming Wildlife Poaching” - Thursday, July 16, 2015
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, and members of the Committee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony for the record of this hearing. I am honored to appear before your committee. My name is George Wittemyer—I am a professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University and the Chairman of the Scientific Board of the Kenya based organization Save the Elephants. I have worked on elephant conservation issues in Africa for the past 19 years and have been a member of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group for the past 8 years. In addition, I serve as a technical advisor on elephants to the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Hong Kong displays for retail sale more elephant and mammoth ivory items than any other city in the world surveyed for ivory. There are also large, intricately carved pieces of mammoth ivory that can be legally taken out of Hong Kong, as they were carved from the extinct mammoth. This is in contrast to mainly trinkets, especially jewellery, that are carved from elephant ivory. They are illegal to export, but being small, these items are easily smuggled out in personal luggage. Hong Kong is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Asia. The city has a population of about 7 million people yet attracts over 50 million visitors a year, mostly mainland Chinese. They come to shop, including for luxury products such as ivory because these items are less expensive than on the mainland.
The narrative of Fortress Conservation was based on strategies dominated by attempts to reserve places for nature, to separate humans from nature, and to prevent consumptive use or other forms of human impact. The counter-narrative of Community Conservation promises to reconcile conservation and development objectives, and ensure the interests of the local people are taken into account. This narrative is no panacea however, and in the evolution of community conservation in Kenya, several initiatives have fallen victim to poor governance or the lack thereof, or worse, the retrogression into the colonial model of conservation through exclusion. A new model of community conservation in Kenya is emerging, distinguished by the governance and leadership of umbrella bodies and land owner associations, state involvement and community buy-in in a new frontier of conservation on communal lands.
A programme to monitor elephant mortality was agreed by the CITES parties in 1997. The MIKE (Monitoring of the Illegal Killing of Elephants) programme, was approved by CITES in 2000; and its current modus operandi follow Res. 10.10 (Rev. CoP14). It was set up to detect changes in levels of illegal killing of elephants. Kenya has been monitoring elephant mortality through the Kenya Wildlife Service of all elephant populations in the country since 1990, including the current Laikipia-Samburu MIKE site. The information is stored in a national elephant mortality database. A report summarizing all information from 1990 to 2002 was undertaken prior to the inception of MIKE, intended by Kenya as their own base line against which future change could be measured (Thouless et al. 2008).
The expansion of global communication networks and advances in animal tracking technology make possible the real-time telemetry of positional data as recorded by animal-attached tracking units. When combined with continuous, algorithm-based analytical capability, unique opportunities emerge for applied ecological monitoring and wildlife conservation. We present here four broad approaches for algorithmic wildlife monitoring in real time—proximity, geofencing, movement rate, and immobility—designed to examine aspects of wildlife spatial activity and behavior not possible with conventional tracking systems. Application of these four routines to the real-time monitoring of 94 African elephants was made. We also provide details of our cloud-based monitoring system including infrastructure, data collection, and customized software for continuous tracking data analysis.
This study investigates the ranging behavior of elephants in relation to precipitation-driven dynamics of vegetation. Movement data were acquired for five bachelors and five female family herds during three years in the Marsabit protected area in Kenya and changes in vegetation were mapped using MODIS normalized difference vegetation index time series (NDVI). In the study area, elevations of 650 to 1100 m.a.s.l experience two growth periods per year, while above 1100 m.a.s.l. growth periods last a year or longer.
African and Asian elephants are in for tough times ahead. Their problems are complex. In southern Africa worries are still expressed about ‘too many elephants’ destroying woody vegetation in protected areas. In most of their range, crop raiding and conflict with human beings is reported every week. Currently, there are at least two horrendous droughts in Africa with negative effects on elephants-one in northern Kenya and another in Mali-perhaps related to widespread climate change but very much aggravated by habitat degradation caused by livestock overgrazing. Almost everywhere that elephants live, there is an ever-expanding, resource-hungry human population, with many who live hand- to-mouth. An enormous challenge lies ahead of reconciling conservation with poverty alleviation, and yet leaving adequate space for elephants and other wildlife.
The taxonomy of West African elephants is reviewed along with their distribution during 1976-1984 study done in a biogeographical context. At that time they inhabited roughly 232,000 sq km, 6-7% of the area they had occupied at the turn of the century. The diminution of elephant range was greatest in the Sahel and Guinean savannah zone of which only about 2.8% and 2.3% respectively are still inhabited by elephants as compared to 6.7% in the Sudanian and 16% in the Guinean forest zone. Reasons for the decline of elephants in West Africa are analyzed. Accepting inaccuracies of elephant censusing, surviving elephants in West Africa were estimated at roughly 17,000 of which about 5,200 were considered to be forest elephants. Of these only about 11,500 (3,500 forest and 8,000 savannah elephants) live in or around national parks and game reserves. Conservation and chances for survival of elephants are discus
Results from a large scale aerial survey of large mammals in the Tsavo ecosystems in February are compared to earlier surveys. 4,327 elephants were counted in the Park, a decline of 75% since the 1972 count. Another 1,036 were counted in surrounding areas, a decline of 87% over the same period. Results confirm the downward trend noted in KREMU sample counts which suggest that the Tsavo ecosystem 1969 population of 42,000 elephants stood at about 5,700 in 1987. The worse affected areas were Mkomazi GR where numbers are down by 96% and Galana Ranch where they have fallen by 98%. In Taita-Taveta District area near the Park they decreased by 31% while near the Taita Hills and Salt Lick Lodges an increase in numbers suggests that tourism may offer some degree of protection from poaching.
The study of collective or group-level movement patterns can provide insight regarding the socio-ecological interface, the evolution of self-organization and mechanisms of inter-individual information exchange. The suite of drivers influencing coordinated movement trajectories occur across scales, resulting from regular annual, seasonal and circadian stimuli and irregular intra- or interspecific interactions and environmental encounters acting on individuals. Here, we promote a conceptual framework with an associated statistical machinery to quantify the type and degree of synchrony, spanning absence to complete, in pairwise movements. The application of this framework offers a foundation for detailed understanding of collective movement patterns and causes.
High-resolution animal location data are increasingly available, requiring analytical approaches and statistical tools that can accommodate the temporal structure and transient dynamics (non-stationarity) inherent in natural systems. Traditional analyses often assume uncorrelated or weakly correlated temporal structure in the velocity (net displacement) time series constructed using sequential location data. We propose that frequency and time– frequency domain methods, embodied by Fourier and wavelet transforms, can serve as useful probes in early investigations of animal movement data, stimulating new ecological insight and questions. We introduce a novel movement model with time-varying parameters to study these methods in an animal movement context.
This report is the fifth in a series of surveys that depict the status and trends of the elephant ivory markets in a?particular region of the world. This investigation covered the United States of America (USA) and Vancouver,?Canada. It differs significantly from previous studies of this trade by quantifying the nature and scale of the?market. The investigators made the survey between March and December 2006 and March and May 2007.?Seventeen cities and towns were selected for study based on their population size and wealth, and tourist?importance.
This report is the fourth in a series of surveys that depict the status and trends of the elephant ivory markets in a particular region of the world. Previous surveys covered Africa (Martin and Stiles 2000), South and South East Asia (Martin and Stiles 2002) and East Asia (Martin and Stiles 2003). This report deals with five countries in Europe: Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy, in relative order of market scale. These countries were selected on the basis of the size of their economies, and thus buying power, and on informants’ reports in Africa and Asia of the principal European buyers of worked ivory in their regions. The surveys were carried out between April and November 2004, and the work was sponsored by Save the Elephants and Care for the Wild International.
The total aerial count of Elephants in Laikipia-Samburu Ecosystem and for the second time in Marsabit was conducted between 24th and 28th November 2008. Total counts of elephants, their carcasses and Gravy’s Zebra were done. Livestock and other wildlife species mainly the large herbivores were also counted. Coming six years after the preceding total count of Omondi et. al. 2002, the data provides a basis for assessment of the trends in the ecosystem. Within Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem, 7415 elephants were counted, up from 5447 elephants counted in 2002, an estimated annual growth rate of 5.3%. West Isiolo/Samburu block hosted 26% of the elephant population in Ewaso Ecosystem at the highest density of 1.332 elephants per square kilometer. Most of these elephants were encountered in Buffalo Springs National Reserve. Ninety five elephant carcasses were recorded.
As human encroachment into elephant rangelands restricts elephant movements, it is increasingly critical to identify elephant range needs, and the effects of barriers to movements for the purpose of planning conservation areas. Home ranges and movements were documented for six African elephants in a small protected area comprising mixed tropical forest, woodland and open habitats. Data were collected using four conventional VHF radio tracking system (Telonics) collars on two cows and two bulls, and LOTEK GPS radio collars on one bull and one cow. None of the collars performed as well as was expected, however, the LOTEK GPS collars provided far superior data to the conventional VHF system.
The conceptual origin of this DPhil thesis was based on one foundation publication by Vollrath and Douglas-Hamilton (2002a) “African bees to control African elephants”. The authors made a unique discovery that African elephants will avoid feeding on acacia trees that host beehives, either empty or occupied by African honey bees. The concept that elephants might hold a long term memory about bees that could be so negative as to evolve avoidance behaviour towards an otherwise favourite food source, was deeply intriguing and warranted further study. Two key research questions are asked in this thesis and are reflected in the title (i) what happens when elephants and honey bees interact and (ii) how can we adapt this behaviour into a potential deterrent system for crop-raiding elephants. Hence, this is really a thesis of two halves blending both disciplines of natural and social sciences.
The Elephants and Bees Research project is one of Save the Elephants' innovative programmes designed to explore the natural world for solutions to human-elephant conflict. The project uses in-depth knowledge and observation of elephant behaviour to reduce damage from crop-raiding elephants, using African honey bees. Save the Elephants is a research team headed by the elephant expert Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, OBE. In collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service, we are investigating crop protection methods that can be financed and managed by the farmers themselves to provide long term solutions to human-elephant conflict.
This thesis is about the patterns, determinants and consequences of human-elephant interaction in Laikipia District in northern Kenya. Laikipia is located outside of formally protected areas, supports a range of land use types and harbours Kenya’s second largest elephant population comprised of over 3,000 animals. I use interdisciplinary methods and multiple scales of spatial analysis to examine elephant distribution, persistence and interactions with people in this human landscape. At a course scale, results from several data sources show that elephants occur across almost 50% of Laikipia District and, intriguingly, are relatively evenly distributed across locations under cultivation, settlement and livestock production.
Human-elephant conflict is a significant problem in Africa and Asia, particularly where land? managed for conservation adjoins land under cultivation. Electrified fences are increasingly used? to reduce such conflict by preventing access by elephants to vulnerable land. However, despite ?the growing number of electrified fences erected to address human-elephant conflict, there ?have been few empirical studies of their effectiveness. Here we assess the performance of an? electrified fence constructed around the 370km2 Ol Pejeta Conservancy on the Laikipia Plateau ?in north-central Kenya.
Attempts to determine if vegetation types of Africa are adequately covered in the existing protected areas system. The elephant, which can exist within a very wide range of vegetation types, makes a particularly suitable indicator species because it is large and conspicious, and data on its distribution can be easily collected from both air and ground surveys. Results of distribution mapped from the 1979 African Elephant Survey and Conservation Programme and the protected areas were superimposed on White's vegetation map of Africa. The percentage of current elephant range and the total area for each vegetation zone within the biogeographical units were measured as were the extend of the protected areas. These figures served to determine the percentage of the remaining elephant range protected within each of the units.
The Gourma elephant population is unique in Africa for three reasons: it is the northernmost population on the continent, it occupies an exceptionally harsh, arid environment and it owes its existence to historical co-existence with the people of the region. The people and government of Mali have much to be proud of, in their preservation of this valuable cultural and biological treasure. However, pressures on both people and elephants are growing, and accurate knowledge is essential for the development of well-informed strategies if this population of elephants is to have a long-term future.?The aim of the initiative was to better understand:
• the current size, composition and status of the elephant population
• the ecological requirements of the elephants?
• patterns of human activity and their influence on the human-elephant relationship/elephant livelihoods
L’équipe du Projet Eléphant Mali constituée de la WILD Foundation, de Save the Elephants et de l’Environment and Development Group est heureuse de soumettre ce rapport sur la première phase (2003-2006) du projet. Le projet s’est appuyé sur les travaux effectués précédemment par Save the Elephants et d’autres, et consistait en des travaux originaux de recherche scientifique sur le terrain et la compilation d’informations d’archivage pouvant servir de base à un plan de gestion pour la survie des éléphants du Gourma. ?Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce à l’aide financière, technique et en nature de nombreuses agences, organisations et individus.?Le gouvernement du Mali – le projet présentait l’indéniable avantage de recevoir l’appui explicite du Président de la République du Mali, Alpha Oumar Konare et de son successeur, Amadou Toumani Toure.
Understanding the environmental factors influencing animal movements is fundamental to theoretical and applied research in the field of movement ecology. Studies relating fine-scale movement paths to spatiotemporally structured landscape data, such as vegetation productivity or human activity, are particularly lacking despite the obvious importance of such information to understanding drivers of animal movement. In part, this may be because few approaches provide the sophistication to characterize the complexity of movement behavior and relate it to diverse, varying environmental stimuli. We overcame this hurdle by applying, for the first time to an ecological question, a finite impulse–response signal-filtering approach to identify human and natural environmental drivers of movements of 13 free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) from distinct social groups collected over seven years.
The 1980's saw African elephants massacred from an estimated continental population of 1.3 million in 1979 to just 609, 000 ten years later (Douglas-Hamilton 1989) killed mostly for their teeth. During that decade wildlife managers, conservationists, and some politicians battled to stem the slaughter in East and Southern Africa (Douglas-Hamilton and Douglas-Hamilton 1982, Douglas-Hamilton 1988, Cobb 1989 and Western 1989b) which culminated among other things in the ban of international trade in ivory (Sharp 1997). During this time of visible slaughter of savannah elephants (Loxodanta africana africana), there was a general feeling that the 'invisible' elephants (L. a. cyclotis) of the vast equitorial forests, largely uninhabited and unknown, were relatively free from poaching and that large numbers of elephants remained (Anon. 1984a; Owen-Smith 1988).
The objective of this report is to provide information on elephant numbers, distribution and trends, and factors affecting these, which will be helpful to countries in reviewing and setting quotas under the CITES Ivory Export Quota agreement. ??The data on elephants have been acquired from published scientific literature, reports of aerial or ground surveys, and from a series of questionnaires distributed up to December 1986.
As our ancient jeep bucked and jolted to a stop on the steep bank, I caught a glimpse of the thickly forested edge of Wasgamuwa National Park and wondered, not for the fi rst time on this trip, if some of the wild elephants that inhabited this part of the island were surreptitiously watching our arrival. We waited silently for a flicker of elephant movement. Compared with my Samburu study site in Kenya, where elephants are plentiful and habituated to my vehicle, I was unused to the need to exercise such patience, so I enjoyed the time mulling over all that I had learnt about Sri LankaÃƒÂ¢??s elephants.
Adaptive movement behaviors allow individuals to respond to fluctuations in resource quality and distribution in order to maintain fitness. Classically, studies of the interaction between ecological conditions and movement behavior have focused on such metrics as travel distance, velocity, home range size or patch occupancy time as the salient metrics of behavior. Driven by the emergence of very regular high frequency data, more recently the importance of interpreting the autocorrelation structure of movement as a behavioral metric has become apparent. Studying movement of a free ranging African savannah elephant population, we evaluated how two movement metrics, diel displacement (DD) and movement predictability (MP - the degree of autocorrelated movement activity at diel time scales), changed in response to variation in resource availability as measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. We were able to capitalize on long term (multi-year) yet high resolution (hourly) global positioning system tracking datasets, the sample size of which allows robust analysis of complex models. We use optimal foraging theory predictions as a framework to interpret our results, in particular contrasting the behaviors across changes in social rank and resource availability to infer which movement behaviors at diel time scales may be optimal in this highly social species.
The phenology of reproduction is often correlated with resource availability and is hypothesized to be shaped by selective forces in order to maximize lifetime reproductive success. African elephants have the distinctive life history traits of a 22 month gestation and extended offspring investment, necessitating a long-term strategy of energy acquisition and reproductive expenditure to ensure successful offspring recruitment. We investigated the relationship between the reproductive phenology of a wild elephant population and resource availability using remotely sensed Normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) data as a measure of time-specific primary productivity and hence forage quality.
The internal state of an individual—as it relates to thirst, hunger, fear, or reproductive drive—can be inferred by referencing points on its movement path to external environmental and sociological variables. Using time-series approaches to characterize autocorrelative properties of step-length movements collated every 3 h for seven free-ranging African elephants, we examined the influence of social rank, predation risk, and seasonal variation in resource abundance on periodic properties of movement. The frequency domain methods of Fourier and wavelet analyses provide compact summaries of temporal autocorrelation and show both strong diurnal and seasonal based periodicities in the step-length time series. This autocorrelation is weaker during the wet season, indicating random movements are more common when ecological conditions are good.
Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission–fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits received through membership of these groups appear to be salient to their formation and maintenance. Further analysis revealed that the majority of groups in the two higher social echelons (third and fourth tiers) are typically not significantly related.
In many animal systems agonistic interactions may be rare or not overt, particularly where?such interactions are costly or of high risk as is common for large mammals. We present a?technique developed specifically for resolving an optimized dominance order of individuals?in systems with transitive (i.e. linear) dominance relationships, but where not all relationships?are known. Our method augments the widely used I&SI method (de Vries, 1998) with?an interpolation function for resolving the relative ranks of individuals with unknown relationships.?Our method offers several advantages over other dominance methods by enabling?the incorporation of any proportion of unknown relationships, resolving a unique solution to?any dominance matrix, and calculating cardinal dominance strengths for each individual. As?such, this method enables novel insight into difficult to study behavioural systems.
In this paper, we investigate the formation and function of the multilevelled, fission-fusion social structure in a free-ranging African elephant, Loxodonta africana, population. We quantitatively identified the existence of four social tiers by using cluster analysis on individual association data. We assessed the effects of season and study period on social structuring and levels of cohesion within and among social units. ??We found that second-tier units, potentially the equivalent of the 'family', were stable across seasonal periods but the number of units increased as the study progressed and the population grew. It appears that these units were sufficiently small not to be influenced by ecologically related factors, such as resource competition, that might otherwise lead to them splitting.
Individual based demographic records of the elephants utilizing Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves were collected from 1998 through 2003 and indicate that this elephant population was increasing at an average rate of 4.6% per year. Although the majority of carcasses were not found, known sources of mortality include disease,injury, and predation by lions and humans. Poaching did occur during the study period, however the population is increasing and thus our findings indicate ivory poaching has limited impact on the demographic status of these elephants. This population is part of the Samburu/Laikipia MIKE Site and thus its status is relevant to CITES legislation.
Kenya’s premier Samburu elephant population is the focus of a distressing surge in ivory poaching, coincident with an increase in illegal trading of ivory. This ivory is mainly destined for China (see go.nature.com/czac3x). Effective protection of elephants depends partly on more conservation investment, but mainly on stemming the demand for ivory and eliminating black-market trade — actions that mandate leadership from and cooperation with China. The Samburu elephants are one of the world’s best-studied populations. Intensive monitoring has revealed that more have been poached in the past 2.5 years than in the previous 11 years. The highest poaching rates ever were recorded in the first 5 months of this year.
Knowledge of population processes across various ecological and management settings offers important insights for species conservation and life history. In regard to its ecological role, charisma and threats from human impacts, African elephants are of high conservation concern and, as a result, are the focus of numerous studies across various contexts. Here, demographic data from an individually based study of 934 African elephants in Samburu, Kenya were summarized, providing detailed inspection of the population processes experienced by the population over a fourteen year period (including the repercussions of recent increases in illegal killing). These data were compared with those from populations inhabiting a spectrum of xeric to mesic ecosystems with variable human impacts.
While the use of stable isotopes in wildlife ecological research is growing rapidly, development of methods to establish time-specific isotope data from continuously growing animal tissues are lacking. Using serially collected tail hairs from wild African elephants (Loxodonta africana), we develop and compare four techniques to collate temporal isotope chronologies from metabolically inert tissues for which formation/growth overlapped in time. The influence of variation in within hair growth rates and other sources of error in the presented techniques are explored and found to be inconsequential relative to the 5-day tissue sampling interval. Using a floating point regression approach, we find a high degree of correlation between independently derived isotope profiles from the same and different individuals in the study ecosystem.
According to the socioecological framework, transitivity (or linearity) in dominance relationships is related to competition over critical resources. When a population is structured into groups, the intensity of between versus within-group competition influences the form and function of its social organization. Few studies have compared the type and relative intensity of competition at these two levels. African elephants have well-structured social relations, providing an exemplary system for such a study. We report on dominance hierarchies among free-ranging elephants and evaluate the factors that drive their socioecological structure to lie in a region of the three-dimensional nepotism/despotism/tolerance space rarely observed among social species;
Non-invasive endocrine methods enable investigation of the relationship between ecological variation and ovarian activity and how this impacts on demographic processes. The underlying physiological factors driving high variation in inter-calving intervals among multi-parous African elephants offer an interesting system for such an investigation. This study investigates the relationship between Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI), an ecosystem surrogate measure of primary productivity, and fecal progestin concentrations among wild female elephants. Matched fecal samples and behavioral data on reproductive activity were collected from 37 focal individuals during the two-year study.
A 21-month individual identification project on the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves’ elephant population was conducted between November 1997 and July 1999. The free ranging population, of at least 767 elephants, which relied heavily on areas outside the reserves, was individually identified. The numbers of elephants observed per day fluctuated but were greater during dry periods then wet. However, the sizes of aggregations were greater during wet periods. Preliminary investigation suggested that the population could be divided into two groups, which were designated resident and non-resident family units. The groups comprised approximately equal numbers of cows and calves, but temporally had di¡erent reserve use patterns and calving peaks. The daily numbers of males and musth males were correlated with numbers of females.
A variety of challenges face the conservation of African elephants, stemming from the illegal poaching for ivory to habitat loss resulting in range restriction. Solutions to these challenges require information on the factors affecting population structure, movement and reproduction in this species. In this dissertation, I investigate the relationship between ecological variation and population processes in the wild elephant population inhabiting the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves in northern Kenya. Both empirical analyses and theoretical approaches are presented, motivated by fundamental questions regarding factors influencing population structure and by applied objectives concerning the management issues facing this species. In addition, this work presents novel analytical techniques for defining and understanding population structure.
Declines in economic activity and associated changes in human livelihood strategies can increase threats of species overexploitation. This is exemplified by the effects of economic crises, which often drive intensification of subsistence poaching and greater reliance on natural resources. Whereas development theory links natural resource use to social-economic conditions, few empirical studies of the effect of economic downturns on wild animal species have been conducted. I assessed the relations between African elephant (Loxodonta africana) mortality and human-caused wounds in Samburu, Kenya and (1) livestock and maize prices (measures of local economic conditions), (2) change in national and regional gross domestic product (GDP) (measures of macroeconomic conditions), and (3) the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (a correlate of primary productivity).
Wasser, S., Poole, J., Lee, P., Lindsay, K., Dobson, A., Hart, J., Douglas-Hamilton, I., Wittemyer, G., Granli, P., Morgan, Bethan., Gunn, J., Alberts, S., Beyers, R., Chiyo, P., Croze, H., Estes, R., Gobush, K., Joram, P., Kikoti. A., Kingdon, J., King, L., Macdonald, D., Moss, C., Mutayoba, B., Njumbi, S., Omondi, P., Nowak, K
Tanzania and Zambia are petitioning the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to “downlist” the conservation status of their elephants to allow sale of stockpiled ivory. But just 2 years after CITES placed a 9-year moratorium on future ivory sales, elephant poaching is on the rise. The petitioning countries are major sources and conduits of Africa’s illegal ivory. The petitions highlight the controversy surrounding ivory trade and broader issues underlying CITES trade decisions.
Wide-ranging, landscape-level movements by terrestrial herbivores are increasingly threatened globally. Understanding the ecology of spatio-temporal movement patterns is critical for conservation of wide-ranging terrestrial species and the ecosystems on which they rely. The range of the Gourma elephant population inhabiting the Sahelian eco-region near Tombouctou (Timbuktu), Mali encompasses the largest areal extent in this species (29% greater than range sizes reported in other populations). Over the course of a year, the Gourma elephants (Loxodonta africana) move in a coordinated north–south movement pattern that is relatively unique for the species.
Understanding the behavioural decisions underlying animal movements is a major challenge. Here we report evidence for the importance of the abiotic terrain feature ‘gradient’ in guiding the movements of African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana). Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking data overlaid onto digital elevation and surface gradient models show that elephants tend to avoid steep slopes. Energy calculations suggest that even minor hills are considerable energy barriers for heavy animals. Elephants are keystone animals in Africa and Asia, and effective conservation planning strategies must integrate a thorough knowledge of the range use and spatial requirements of these magnificent animals.
Numbers of elephants have declined in Africa and Asia over the past 30 years while numbers of humans have increased, both substantially. Friction between these two keystone species is reaching levels which are worryingly high from an ecological as well as a political viewpoint. Ways and means must be found to keep the two apart, at least in areas sensitive to each species' survival. ??The aggressive African bee might be one such method. Here we demonstrate that African bees deter elephants from damaging the vegetation and trees which house their hives.
In Roman times, elephants roamed widely over most of Africa and Asia, probably linking up somewhere around Mesopotamia. Indeed, not very much earlier, the elephant tribe consisted of hundreds of species ranging even further afield, covering most of Europe and America as well – with mammoths of up to five metres in the icy north and one-metre dwarf forms on Mediterranean (and Californian) islands. Everywhere, the large beasts shaped their environment by pushing over trees and denuding forests, thus creating open grasslands. Those halcyon days are long past, and all but two species are now extinct. Times have become rough for the survivors: over the past 100 years, the Asian Elephas maximus and the African Loxodonta africana have had to yield to human expansion and retreat into a few small pocket-size remnants of their natural ranges.
Above-ground thermonuclear weapons testing from 1952 through 1962 nearly doubled the concentration of radiocarbon (14C) in the atmosphere. As a result, organic material formed during or after this period may be radiocarbon-dated using the abrupt rise and steady fall of the atmospheric 14C concentration known as the bomb-curve. We test the accuracy of accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating of 29 herbivore and plant tissues collected on known dates between 1905 and 2008 in East Africa. Herbivore samples include teeth, tusks, soft tissue, hair, and horn. Tissues formed after 1955 are dated to within 0.3–1.3 y of formation, depending on the tissue type, whereas tissues older than ca. 1955 have high age uncertainties (>17 y) due to the Suess effect. 14C dating of tissues has applications to stable isotope (paleo) ecology and wildlife forensics.
Describes aerial census of Ruaha National Park and adjacent areas including Rungwa and Kisigo Game Reserves. The 31,500 sq km census zone carries one of the largest elephant populations in Africa with an estimated 43,865 elephants with 24,625 estimated to occur within the 10, 200 sq km Park itself. Within the park, comparisons with earlier counts showed an apparent increase in elephant density of 8-10% per annum since 1965. The increase in elephant within the park itself probably results from the change in human distribution in the region and a period of higher rainfall.
A dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the Congo Basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. Among the great wilderness areas on earth, the Congo Basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). The abundance of many mammal species in the Basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements of individuals are unknown. We investigated the ranging behaviour of forest elephants in relation to roads and roadless wilderness by fitting GPS telemetry collars onto a sample of 28 forest elephants living in six priority conservation areas. We show that the size of roadless wilderness is a strong determinant of home range size in this species.
Elephants once occupied a largely continuous range across West Africa, from the coastal forests to the Sahara. The collapse of these once extensive populations, caused by poaching for the ivory trade, human encroachment and the concurrent lack of conservation and scientific attention, has been alarming. Remaining populations are small, highly fragmented and geographically isolated, with over half now containing fewer than 100 individuals (Roth and Douglas-Hamilton 1991; Said et al. 1995; Barnes et al. 1998; Barnes 1999). The population living in the Gourma, which before this survey was estimated to be between 300 and 800, is one of the most important in the West African region and is accorded a high priority in the regional elephant strategy of the IUCN (Worldwide Conservation Union).
Les éléphants occupaient jadis un vaste territoire continu à travers toute l’Afrique de l’Ouest,?s’étendant des forêts côtières au Sahara. Le déclin de ces populations autrefois répandues, sous?l’effet du braconnage destiné au commerce de l’ivoire, de l’empiètement humain, et combinés à?l’absence de conservation et d’attention scientifique, se produit à un rythme alarmant. Les?populations qui subsistent sont de petite taille, extrêmement fragmentées et géographiquement?isolées, dont plus de la moitié ne contient plus aujourd’hui qu’une centaine d’individus à peine?(Roth and Douglas-Hamilton 1991 ; Said et al. 1995 ; Barnes et al. 1998 ; Barnes 1999).
Few data exist on the ranging behaviour of forest elephants. A feasibility study on the use of GPS telemetry as a tool to study ranging, seasonal movements and distribution was implemented in the Dzanga-Sangha and Nouabale¨-Ndoki National Parks Complex of Central African Republic and Congo. The study consisted of two parts - a thorough hand-held testing of an elephant GPS telemetry collar under tropical forest conditions and the deployment of collars on two elephants. During the feasibility study the system performance was satisfactory; GPS fix acquisition success rate, VHF and UHF collar-researcher communications were dequate. Two elephants, a mature bull and an adult female, were immobilized and fitted with GPS collars in October 1998. After deployment, the female's GPS collar performed well initially, but in less than a month the GPS within the collar stopped acquiring fixes.
Precipitous declines in Africa’s native fauna and flora are recognized, but few comprehensive records of these changes have been compiled. Here, we present population trends for African elephants in the 6,213,000 km2 Sudano-Sahelian range of West and Central Africa assessed through the analysis of aerial and ground surveys conducted over the past 4 decades. These surveys are focused on the best protected areas in the region, and therefore represent the best case scenario for the northern savanna elephants. A minimum of 7,745 elephants currently inhabit the entire region, representing a minimum decline of 50% from estimates four decades ago for these protected areas. Most of the historic range is now devoid of elephants and, therefore, was not surveyed. Of the 23 surveyed elephant populations, half are estimated to number less than 200 individuals.
The dietary and movement history of individual animals can be studied using stable isotope records in animal tissues, providing insight into long-term ecological dynamics and a species niche. We provide a 6-year history of elephant diet by examining tail hair collected from 4 elephants in the same social family unit in northern Kenya. ??Sequential measurements of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope rations in hair provide a weekly record of diet and water resources. Carbon isotope ratios were well correlated with satellite-based measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of the region occupied by the elephants as recorded by the global positioning system (GPS) movement record; the absolute amount of C4 grass consumption is well correlated with the maximum value of NDVI during individual wet seasons.
We use chronologies of stable isotopes measured from elephant (Loxodonta africana) hair to determine migration patterns and seasonal diet changes in elephants in and near Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya. Stable carbon isotopes record diet changes, principally enabling differentiation between browse and tropical grasses, which use the C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways, respectively; stable nitrogen isotopes record regional patterns related to aridity, offering insight into localized ranging behavior. Isotopically identified range shifts were corroborated by global positioning system radio tracking data of the studied individuals. Comparison of the stable isotope record in the hair of one migrant individual with that of a resident population shows important differences in feeding and ranging behavior over time.
1. Understanding and accurately predicting the spatial patterns of habitat use by organisms is?important for ecological research, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management. However,?this understanding is complicated by the effects of spatial scale, because the scale of analysis?affects the quantification of species–environment relationships.?2. We therefore assessed the influence of environmental context (i.e. the characteristics of the landscape?surrounding a site), varied over a large range of scales (i.e. ambit radii around focal sites), on?the analysis and prediction of habitat selection by African elephants in Kruger National Park,?South Africa.
Asian and African elephant species have diverged by ca. 6 million years, but as large, generalist herbivores they occupy similar niches in their respective environments. Although the multilevel, hierarchical nature of African savannah elephant societies is well established, it has been unclear whether Asian elephants behave similarly. Here we quantitatively compare the structure of both species’ societies using association data collected using the same protocol over similar time periods. Sociality in both species demonstrates well-defined structure, but in contrast to the African elephants of Samburu the Uda Walawe Asian elephants are found in smaller groups, do not maintain coherent core groups, demonstrate markedly less? ?social connectivity at the population level, and are socially less influenced by seasonal differences in ecological conditions.
The unique wildlife of the Ewaso Nyiro and valuable services that the?ecosystem provides for humans (e.g., clean water and productive grasslands) cannot be?conserved by working solely on traditional conservation strongholds such as the national?reserves and private ranches of central Laikipia. To reach objectives for conserving wildlife,?stakeholders must work to preserve wildlife habitat and corridors in the surrounding?human-dominated landscape—a daunting task considering the complexity of working?at large spatial scales (e.g., many landowners, competing land uses) and limited conservation?resources available. Systematic, landscape-scale conservation planning helps?stakeholders set meaningful and transparent objectives, identify where to work to meet?those objectives, and prioritize areas for immediate investment.
Conservation projects may be reluctant to attempt Systematic Conservation Planning because existing methods are often prohibitive in the time, money, data, and expertise they require. We tried to develop a ‘‘resource light’’ method for Systematic Conservation Planning and applied it to the Ewaso Ngiro Landscape of central Kenya. Over a 6-month preparation period and 1-week participatory workshop, we used expert assessments to select focal biodiversity features, set quantitative targets for these, map their current distribution, vulnerability, potential for recovery, and conservation costs, and, finally, map cross-feature conservation priorities. Preparation for and facilitation of the workshop required time investment by one part-time workshop coordinator, eight workshop committee members, six ecosystem experts, and two GIS technicians.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton remembers a man who fought long and hard to advance the conservation cause in Africa – and around the world.
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands died of cancer on 1 December 2004 at the age of 93. While he had a long and distinguished career in Europe’s turbulent 20th Century, he will be remembered in Africa primarily as one who tirelessly promoted the wildlife cause over many years. All his life he used a position of privilege to fight for matters of principle. As a German Prince he married Princess Juliana of the Dutch royal family. When Germany invaded his adopted country he backed the Free Dutch at a time when it looked as though the Nazis could never be defeated. He became a Dutchman among the Dutch, and a symbol of the resistance. And when the allies finally triumphed he never forgot the ordinary people who had joined the resistance.
Wilderness and Human Communities. Proceedings from the 7th World Wilderness Congress 2004
The African wilderness, for me, isepitomized by elephants, so let us consider wilderness from an elephant's point of view. Elephants need a great deal of space. So from an elephant'spoint of view, the more wilderness the better. At present, where elephants dowell in Africa there is much habitat to support them, and so a host of otherspecies is surviving along with them. In this sense, elephants are anindicator of the welfare of the wilderness. Despite serious episodes of decrease over the last thirty years in their range north of the Zambezi, elephants still occur in abundance in huge and often remote wild land areas in Africa, and are still believed to have a total range of over 5 million square kilometers.
The extent to which elephants hold behavioural traits in common with human beings is relevant to the ethics of how we treat them. Observations show that elephants, like humans, are concerned with distressed or deceased individuals, and render assistance to the ailing and show a special interest in dead bodies of their own kind. This paper reports helping and investigative behaviour of different elephants and their families towards a dying and deceased matriarch. We make use of long-term association records, GPS tracking data and direct observations. Records made around the time of death, shows that the helping behaviour and special interest exhibited was not restricted to closely related kin. The case is made that elephants, like human beings, can show compassionate behaviour to others in distress.
Many African elephant populations have declined over the last two decades (Douglas-Hamilton. 1987). In most census zones, as the number of elephants decreases, the number of dead elephants increases. By counting both live and dead elephants a carcass ratio can be derived. This is the proportion of dead elephants to all elephants dead and live, and has been used as an index of relative elephant mortality (Douglas-Hamiton and Hillman, 1980).??In this paper successive counts of dead and live elephants in central, east, and southern Africa have been used to plot elephant trends against carcass ratios. It was found that the carcass ratio was correlated with the rate of decrease over a 4-yr period. The model was applied to new census data from Selous and Kilombero and found to give a close prediction of actual trends.
Sexual activity in mature male African elephants is predominantly associated with the occurrence of musth, a state or condition which refers to a set of physical, physiological and behavioral characteristics, including an elevation in androgen levels. Although musth appears to be energetically costly, the degree to which it is associated with changes in adrenal endocrine function (e.g., glucocorticoid output) is still unclear. To investigate the possible effect of musth on adrenocortical function, and the impact of socioecological changes on androgen and glucocorticoid levels, six adult African elephant bulls were followed for 13 months in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, and observations and fecal sample collection for endocrine monitoring was carried out about twice weekly.
Free-ranging African elephants Loxodonta africana use their front feet frequently during the process of foraging and this could be the reason for the high prevalence of physical injuries to these parts of the body. Although the occurrence of severe lameness caused by foot lesions in adult elephants has already been investigated and the clinical and pathological findings have been reported, the effect of foot injuries on glucocorticoid levels as a potential physiological stress response has not been examined. Given the practical difficulties involved in monitoring unpredictable events in free-ranging animals, like the occurrence of foot injuries in elephants, it is not surprising that information regarding the endocrine correlates of physical injury is still limited for elephants.
Musth in male African elephants, Loxodonta africana, is associated with increased aggressive behavior, continuous discharge of urine, copious secretions from the swollen temporal glands, and elevated androgen levels. During musth, bulls actively seek out and are preferred estrous females although sexual activity is not restricted to the musth condition. The present study combines recently established methods fecal hormone analysis with long-term observations on male-female associations as well as the presence and intensity of physical signals to provide a more detailed picture about the physical, physiological, and behavioral characteristics of different states of sexual activity in free ranging African elephants.
Conserving African wildlife in human-occupied landscapes requires management intervention that is guided by a mechanistic understanding of how anthropogenic factors influence large-scale ecological processes. In Laikipia District, a dry savanna region in northern Kenya where wildlife share the landscape with humans and livestock, we examined why five of nine wild ungulate species suffered protracted declines on properties receiving the greatest conservation investment. Of 10 alternative causes examined, only an increase in predation, interacting with brief periods of high and low rainfall, was consistent with the timing, synchrony, duration and species composition of observed ungulate declines.
Land outside of gazetted protected areas is increasingly seen as important to the ?future of elephant persistence in Africa. However, other than inferential studies on ?crop raiding, very little is understood about how elephants Loxodonta africana use ?and are affected by human-occupied landscapes. This is largely a result of ?restrictions in technology, which made detailed assessments of elephant movement? outside of protected areas challenging. Recent advances in radio telemetry have ?changed this, enabling researchers to establish over a 24-h period where tagged ?animals spend their time. We assessed the movement of 13 elephants outside of ?gazetted protected areas across a range of land-use types on the Laikipia plateau in? north-central Kenya.
Sexual dimorphism in size in the African savanna elephant, Loxodonta africana, is pronounced. Allometric differences between the sexes lead to dissimilar nutritional demands, which result in sex related distinctions in feeding ecology. This extension of the Jarman-Bell Principle to an intra-specific level has been referred to as the Body Size Hypothesis (BSH).??This study established whether different nutritional requirements of elephant size/sex classes resulted in functional distinctions in feeding ecology between elephant bull groups and family units. Plant based surveys on woody species were conducted at the feeding sites of both bull groups and family units of elephants during the dry season period of resource limitation within the Associated Private Nature Reserves of South Africa.
The modulatory effects of gestational age and circulating concentrations of progesterone, 5-pregnane-3,20-dione, and estradiol-17 on the uterine sex steroid hormone receptor levels of the African elephant were investigated. Uterine tissue biopsies and blood samples were obtained from animals culled in the Kruger National Park. Estrogen and progesterone receptor concentrations were determined in uterine biopsies from subadult, lactating, early-, mid-, and late-pregnant elephants, by equilibrium binding assays. Circulating estradiol-171 and progesterone concentrations were measured by means of RIAs, while plasma concentrations of 5-pregnane-3,20-dione were determined with an amplified ELISA. Significant inverse correlations of the concentrations of estrogen and progesterone receptors with the gestational stage of the elephants were observed.
Private nature reserves and adjoining large national parks such as the 2.2 million ha Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa, not only need to function as integrated ecological units but also need to be financially viable to support efficient management practices. The Association of Private Nature Reserves (APNR), on the western boundary of the KNP encompass an area of 180 000 ha and forms one of the largest private nature reserves in the world. These reserves host from time to time some of the few remaining large tusked bulls, which periodically emerge from the KNP. As hunting is permitted within the APNR, trophy bulls are of economic importance to the reserves. Green hunting of elephant bulls was pioneered by Save the Elephants within the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in 1998.
Relative high annual rates of population growth in African elephants confined to conservation areas in southern Africa (for example, 7%; Hall-Martin, 1992) may have negative consequences for the maintenance of biological diversity. As a result the densities of some of these populations are reduced artificially through culling operations that are opposed both by some conservationists and the concerned public. There is, therefore, a need for the development of alternative and generally acceptable techniques for inhibiting population growth. In this regard Poole (1993) and Short (1992) suggested that consideration should be given to the use of contraceptives or contragestins, such as an antiprogestin, like mifepristone (RU?486; Roussel Uclaf, Paris), that may block uterine receptor activity. However, the use of such treatments require detailed knowledge of the reproductive endocrinology in the elephant.
Foraging behavior of elephants with respect to debarking of woody species was?investigated in Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves, Kenya. Acacia elatior was?the most preferred species followed by Acacia tortilis. Both A. elatior and A. tortilis? dominate the woody vegetation accounting for over 80% of all woody plants. Debarking ?levels varied in different parts of the reserves and this was attributed to elephants’ densities ?and the ultimate influence of endaphic factors on species assemblages. Species diversity ?indices were negatively correlated with salinity indicating a direct influence of salinity on ?plant community structure. Both Acacia tortilis and A. elatior have the highest tolerance to? salinity and occur almost exclusively in saline areas.
The count was conducted under the auspices of Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) jointly funded by NRT, African Wildlife Foundation, Disney Foundation and Save the Elephants. Participants were drawn from the organization and a full list of individuals who took part is in the acknowledgement section. In particular, Onesmas Kahindi took a leading role in training and coordinating the census crew while and Rose Mayienda put the data together and made a single shape file of it. The report describes the methodology used and summarizes the results of the counts in form of tables and Maps.
The impact of elephants on the woody plant community through debarking was investigated in Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves, Kenya. Acacia elatior Brenan, the most abundant tree species inthe riverine zone, accounted for 68%(n = 1375) of woody plants. A. tortilis (Forsskal) Hayne dominated plots away from the river. Debarking incidences were significantly higher for A. elatior than for other species indicating selective utilization. The riverine zone by virtue of having more trees of the preferred species, A. elatior, had the highest debarking incidences. Presence of very few saplings along the river is attributed to both elephant trampling and herb ivory by other species. An estimated 38.5% and 22.5% of the riverine A. elatior and A. tortilis trees respectively, were bound to die within the next 4–5 years because of severe debarking, ‡75% of bark circumference.
The Samburu people of northern Kenya have co-existed with elephants since time immemorial. The Samburu-elephant co-existence is facilitated by local knowledge gained through real experiences from direct interactions with, and actual observation of the elephant’s natural behaviour. The experiences are interpreted and coded through existing traditional belief systems and permeated to the community and descending generations through the vibrant oral system in the society. The knowledge is an integral part of the co-existence. The Samburu perceive elephants in terms of individuals and individual groups rather than a population. Individual elephants have meaningful and significant characters. The Samburu perception is different from that of other organizations, past and present, interested in the elephants inhabiting Samburu District.
Levels and trends of illegal killing of elephants are measured by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme in sites across Africa and Asia. In the mostly unprotected Laikipia–Samburu MIKE site in northern Kenya, elephant mortality data were collected using both standard law enforcement monitoring procedures, relying on patrolling, and participatory methods involving local communities. Qualitatively, traditional patrolling techniques were more successful in protected areas whereas participatory approaches provided more information outside protected areas, where elephant were most at risk from ivory poachers. A minimum of 35% of the 389 verified carcasses during 2001–2003 were illegally killed.
Previous work has shown that African elephants Loxodonta africana will avoid African honeybees Apis mellifera scutellata. Here we present results from a pilot study conducted to evaluate the concept of using beehives to mitigate elephant crop depredation. In Laikipia, Kenya, we deployed a 90-m fence-line of nine inter-connected hives, all empty, on two exposed sides of a square two-acre farm that was experiencing high levels of elephant crop depredation. Compared with a nearby control farm of similar status and size, our experimental farm experienced fewer raids and consequently had higher productivity.??Socioeconomic indicators suggest that not only was the concept of a beehive fence popular and desired by the community but also that it can pay for its construction costs through the sale of honey and bee products.
Encroaching human development into former wildlife areas  is compressing African elephants into ever smaller home ranges, causing increased levels of human– elephant conflict . African honeybees have been proposed as a possible deterrent to elephants . We have performed a sound playback experiment to study this hypothesis. We found that a significant majority of elephants, in a sample of 18 well-known families and subgroups of varying sizes, reacted negatively — immediately walking or running away — when they heard the buzz of disturbed bees, while they ignored the control sound of natural white-noise. Whether the observed response was the result of individual conditioning or of learning by social facilitation remains to be established. Our study strongly supports the hypothesis that bees — and perhaps even their buzz alone — may be deployed to keep elephants at bay.
Increasing elephant populations in Kenya since 1989 have been widely praised as a conservation success story. However, where elephants and agricultural land overlap, incidents of human-elephant conflict are on the increase. Wildlife managers and farmers are now trying different farm-based deterrents to keep elephants out of crops. Here, we present data on the effectiveness of a novel beehive fence deployed in a Turkana community of 62 communally run farms in Kenya. Specifically, 1700m of beehive fences semi-sorrounded the outer boundaries of seventeen farms, and we compared elephant farm invasion events with these and to seventeen neighboring farms whose boundaries were 'protected' only by thorn bush barriers. We present data from 45 farm invasions, or attempted invasions, recorded over 2 years. Thirteen groups of elephants approached beehive fences and turned away.
Unlike the smaller and more vulnerable mammals, African elephants have relatively few predators that threaten their?survival. The sound of disturbed African honeybees Apis meliffera scutellata causes African elephants Loxodonta africana to?retreat and produce warning vocalizations that lead other elephants to join the flight. In our first experiment, audio?playbacks of bee sounds induced elephants to retreat and elicited more head-shaking and dusting, reactive behaviors that?may prevent bee stings, compared to white noise control playbacks. Most importantly, elephants produced distinctive?‘‘rumble’’ vocalizations in response to bee sounds. These rumbles exhibited an upward shift in the second formant location,?which implies active vocal tract modulation, compared to rumbles made in response to white noise playbacks.
This article examines the development and implementation of a grass-roots elephant conservation program based upon the Samburu people’s perceptions and knowledge of elephants in the areas surrounding the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves in northern Kenya. Ethnographic methods were used to understand these perceptions and demonstrated that strong customs and traditions for conserving wildlife, particularly elephants, exist among the Samburu people. It became evident that these customs are changing, given various factors influencing Samburu culture and younger generations. The use of economic incentives is a widely accepted method to foster positive attitudes and behavior toward wildlife. The value of using ethnographic methods to reinforce positive indigenous knowledge about wildlife, however, is underestimated.
African forest elephants – taxonomically and functionally unique–are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002–2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped.
Foraging behaviour and habitat selection occur as hierarchical processes. Understanding the factors that govern foraging and habitat selection thus requires investigation of those processes over the scales at which they occur. We investigated patterns of habitat use by African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in relation to vegetation greenness to investigate the scale at which that landscape attribute was most closely related to distribution of elephant locations. We analysed Global Positioning System radio-collar locations for 15 individuals, using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index as a representation of vegetation greenness in a Geographic Information Systems framework. We compared the importance of vegetation greenness at three spatial scales: the total home range, the seasonal home range and the 16-day home range.
This report presents the results of the third in a series of surveys that describe the status and trends of the elephant ivory trade in a region of the world, in this case East Asia. The previous reports covered Africa (Martin and Stiles 2000; Stiles and Martin 2001) and South and South East Asia (Martin and Stiles 2002; Stiles and Martin 2002). ??The places surveyed for this report were Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. The purpose of these ivory trade surveys is to gather data on a set of indicators that portray the scale of the market in ivory in order that governments, wildlife conservation organizations and CITES representatives can appreciate the extent to which ivory is traded in selected countries.
The purpose of this report is first to present data on the current status of the ivory trade in the major markets of South and South East Asia. These data are needed by relevant government authorities, international and national wildlife conservation organizations and by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in order to comprehend the scale of the ivory market in the respective countries today. ??The second objective is to set a base line of ivory trade indicators from which to assess what is happening to the trade so that future monitoring and evaluation can be carried out on the effectiveness of policies, laws and enforcement activities relating to the internal and international trade in ivory.
Although the international trade in elephant ivory is banned by almost every country, there are significant quantities of tusks and carved items moving illicitly within Africa, especially in Central and West Africa, and from the continent to markets in eastern Asia. Within some African countries there is also a large internal (domestic) trade in ivory objects. ??Unfortunately, prior to this study, there have been few statistics and little information available on the present-day ivory trade markets in Africa. With the CITES approved one-off sales of government ivory stocks in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in April 1999, it has become even more important to have reliable data on the prices and quantities of raw and worked ivory in the principal markets of Africa.
A geographic information system (GIS) was used to analyse field data on the abundance of elephant dung-piles. For each country, the GIS was used to create contours representing distances from roads or rivers. The area of forest between each contour was then calculated. The curvilinear relationships between dung-pile density and distance to the nearest road or village were then used to calculate the numbers of dung-piles between contours and the total for each country. Comparisons between undisturbed and heavily poached elephant populations suggest that the total forest elephant population in central Africa has been reduced by 44% as a result of ivory poaching. Forest elephants may be more vulnerable to poaching than previously thought because, for example, two-thirds of Congo's elephants live within two day's walk of a road or navigable river.
The paper relates ivory price to an index of inflation in order to explore the basis of a link between the rate of the killing of elephants and the rise in price of ivory greater than that of inflation. The index of inflation used came from the OECD for industrialized countries increased by 3.5 time between 1960 and 1980. Ivory prices for the similar period are taken from Parker (1979) and Parker and Bradley Martin (1983) using 1960 prices as the base year. Between 1960 and 1968 ivory prices kept broadly in line with the rate of inflation. Between 1969 and 1978 ivory prices exceeded inflation by a factor of 5.9 and between 1978 to 1982 by a factor of 3.5. The higher rate of inflation in individual elephant producing countries such as Kenya, Zaire and Uganda would it is argued reinforce the demand for ivory as a valuable commodity.
This paper updates the data on the population status of elephants in the Tsavo–Mkomazi ecosystem. Data were acquired through aerial census of elephants in the ecosystem, from 7 to 12 February 2011. The census covered an area approximately 48,319 km2, which was divided into 44 counting blocks. Each block was assigned to a specific aircraft; the crew consisted of a pilot, front-seat observer and two rear-seat observers for the four-seater light aircraft, and a pilot and an observer for a two-seater light aircraft. The census lasted five days and involved nine light aircraft and about 252 hours of actual counting time, representing a mean search rate of about 191 km2/hr. A total of 12,573 elephants were counted, indicating a modest increase of 2% after the 2008 census and a 96% increase after the 1988 census (n = 6,399).
406 elephant were encountered on the ground during a one year (Sept 2001-Sept 2002) study focused on identifying individuals and studying the population dynamics of elephant in Meru National Park. (This number did not include 17 animals recently transferred from Sweetwaters and another 22 seen from the air only) The population exhibited a seasonal migration pattern to areas north and northwest of the Park which may put some animals as risk to due to the general insecurity of the area. The demographic data collected suggest the population remained static in the early 1990s but experienced a high rate of growth in the last few years. This increase since the late 1990s was attributed to: translocations of over 70 elephant into the Park, high calf recruitment (average 5%) since 1997, and low adult mortality compared with that of the previous decade.
Refutes the hypothesis that the ivory trade does not pose an immediate crisis for the elephant, but that the increase in human population causing the restriction in elephant range is responsible for loss of elephants and is at the root of current population decline. Illustrates his criticism of the hypothesis by providing import and export figures. Suggests civil strife has played an important role in the loss of elephant population and the anarchy associated with this situation allows rampant poaching and hence illegal ivory trading to go on. Article could be considered a response to Parker and Amin's 'Ivory Crisis'.
We investigated population genetic structure and regional differentiation among African savannah elephants in Kenya using mitochondrial and microsatellite markers. We observed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) nucleotide diversity of 1.68% and microsatellite variation in terms of average number of alleles, expected and observed heterozygosities in the total study population of 10.20, 0.75, and 0.69, respectively. Hierarchical analysis of molecular variance of mtDNA variation revealed significant differentiation among the 3 geographical regions studied (FCT 5 0.264; P , 0.05) and a relatively lower differentiation among populations within regions (FSC 5 0.218; P , 0.0001). Microsatellite variation significantly?differentiated among populations within regions (FSC 5 0.019; P , 0.0001) but not at the regional levels (FCT 5 0.000; P . 0.500).
Two hundred years of elephant hunting for ivory, peaking in 1970–1980s, caused local extirpations and massive population declines across Africa. The resulting genetic impacts on surviving populations have not been studied, despite the importance of understanding the evolutionary repercussions of such human-mediated events on this keystone species. Using Bayesian coalescent-based genetic methods to evaluate time-specific changes in effective population size, we analysed genetic variation in 20 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci from 400 elephants inhabiting the greater Samburu-Laikipia region of northern Kenya. This area experienced a decline of between 80% and 90% in the last few decades when ivory harvesting was rampant.
We obtained fresh dung samples from 202 (133 mother-offspring pairs) savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Samburu, Kenya, and genotyped them at 20 microsatellite loci to assess genotyping success and errors. A total of 98.6% consensus genotypes was successfully obtained, with allelic dropout and false allele rates at 1.6% (n 5 46) and 0.9% (n 5 37) of heterozygous and total consensus genotypes, respectively, and an overall genotyping error rate of 2.5% based on repeat typing. Mendelian analysis revealed consistent inheritance in all but 38 allelic pairs from mother-offspring, giving an average mismatch error rate of 2.06%, a possible result of null alleles, mutations, genotyping errors, or inaccuracy in maternity assignment.
The total aerial count of elephants in Laikipia/Samburu ecosystem was carried out between 20th and 24th of June 2002, During the census, total counts of elephants, elephant carcasses and buffaloes was done. Livestock numbers (cattle and shoats) were estimated. As a MIKE site the count provided baseline data for monitoring poaching levels and elephant trends in the ecosystem. A total of 5,447elephants were counted during the survey (2,206 or 40.5% in Samburu and 3,241 or 59.5% in Laikipia). The overall increase since 1999 in the entire ecosystem was 58.5%. The number of carcasses counted was 64 with only one being fresh and three recent while the rest were old or very old. The carcass ratio for the ecosystem was 1.16% - a decline as compared to 1999 (2.8%), however the percentage of recent carcasses rose from 6% to 6.25% (1999 and 2002 respectively).
The study was conducted to assess the technical feasibility of studying the spatial and temporal interaction of traditionally herded livestock and wildlife using global positioning system (GPS) tracking technology in Northern Kenya. Two types of collars were used on nine cows: radio frequency and global system for mobile communications (GSM) collars and GPS-satellite (SAT) collars. Full results of cattle tracking were available for eight cows (3 GSM and 5 SAT) tracked between July 2008 and September 2010. A cumulative total of 1556 tracking days was recorded over the 17 month period. On average cows walked 10,203 m/day (average total monthly distance walked was 234 km). Significant seasonal differences were found; on average cows walked 9.607 m and 10,392 m per day in the rainy and the dry seasons, respectively.
The present thesis investigates aspects of the reproductive strategy of male African savannah elephants (Loxodonata africana). The existence of, and differences between alternative conditional dependent reproductive tactics are evaluated using a combination of behavioural, endocrinological and GPS tracking data and the age and tactic related success is measured using genetic paternity analysis.?Hidden Markov Models were used as a probabilistic framework for analysing temporal changes in reproductively active and inactive periods based on shifts in association preferences of individuals. Distinct shifts between active and inactive periods were evident well before the onset of the aggressive reproductive tactic of musth, seen in older dominant males, hence providing the first quantitative evidence for the previously suggested sexually active periods in non-musth males.
Hormones play a crucial role in mediating genetic and environmental effects into morphological and behavioral phenotypes. In systems with alternative reproductive tactics (ART) shifts between tactics are hypothesized to be under proximate hormonal control. Most studies of the underlying endocrine changes behind ART have focused on !sh and amphibians rather than mammals and few have investigated the potential interaction between different endocrine axes in regulating shifts between conditional dependent tactics. Using a combination of endocrine and behavioral data from male African elephants we expand on our previously published analysis and show that the initial increase in androgens predates the behavioral shifts associated with reproductively active periods, supporting the role of androgens in activating sexually active periods in males.
In this paper, we present a new method for estimating elephant densities by counting elephant wells and dung boli within dry seasonal ?ooding rivers. A combination of aerial and ground counts of elephant wells and dung boli in the Ewaso Ngiro River were related to elephant numbers, obtained from an on-going monitoring program of individually identi?ed elephants in Samburu and Buffalo Spring National Reserves, Kenya. The total number of elephant observations was highly correlated with both densities of wells and dung boli at a spatial resolution of 4-km river-section. This indicates that both wells and droppings can be used for estimating relative densities at such spatial resolution.
Rasmussen, H.B., Okello,J.B.A., Wittemyer, G., Siegismund,H.R., Arctander,P., Vollrath,F., and Douglas-Hamilton, I. Age – and tactic-related paternity success in male African elephants. (2007) Rasmussen, H.B., Okello,J.B.A., Wittemyer, G., Siegismund,H.R., Arctander,P., Vollrath,F., and Douglas-Hamilton, I. ?Age- and tactic-related paternity success in male African elephants (2007) ?Behavioral Ecology
Information on age- and tactic-related paternity success is essential for understanding the lifetime reproductive strategy of males and constitutes an important component of the fitness trade-offs that shape the life-history traits of a species. The degree of reproductive skew impacts the genetic structure of a population and should be considered when developing conservation strategies for threatened species. The behavior and genetic structure of species with large reproductive skew may be disproportionately impacted by anthropogenic actions affecting reproductively dominant individuals. Our results on age- and tactic-specific paternity success in male African elephants are the first from a free-ranging population and demonstrate that paternity success increases dramatically with age, with the small number of older bulls in the competitive state of musth being the most successful sires.
1. Models of wildlife population dynamics are crucial for sustainable utilization and?management strategies. Fluctuating ecological conditions are often key factors influencing?both carrying capacity, mortality and reproductive rates in ungulates. To be reliable,?demographic models should preferably rely on easily obtainable variables that are?directly linked to the ecological processes regulating a population.?2. We compared the explanatory power of rainfall, a commonly used proxy for variability?in ecological conditions, with normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI), a?remote-sensing index value that is a more direct measure of vegetation productivity, to?predict time-specific conception rates of an elephant population in northern Kenya.?Season-specific conception rates were correlated with both quality measures.
High precision condensation dental silicon, ZetalaborTM, was used to create moulds of the lower jaw molars from 22 immobilized African elephants (Loxodonta africana Blumenback) during radio collaring operations. These moulds were used to determine the elephant’s age using Laws and Jachmann’s molar aging criteria. The technique proved easy and fast and produced useful imprints in 90% of the cases. We found our age estimates, based on physical appearance, made prior to immobilizations were relatively accurate, with 75% within ±3 years and 95% within ±5 years from the age indicated from molar evaluation. When re-collaring the same individuals in 2–3 years, new moulds will be made to compare a known time period with the degree of tooth wear. This will provide verification of Laws age estimates from free-ranging elephants.
Elephants have extraordinary olfactory receptive equipment, yet this sensory system has been only minimally?investigated in wild elephants. We present an in-depth study of urinary chemical signals emitted?by individual, behaviourally characterized, wild male African elephants, investigating whether these compounds ?were the same, accentuated, or diminished in comparison with captive individuals. Remarkably,?most emitted chemicals were similar in captive and wild elephants with an exception traced to drought induced? dietary cyanates among wild males. We observed developmental changes predominated by the ?transition from acids and esters emitted by young males to alcohols and ketones released by older males.?
This report is summary in nature, and is submitted to keep the DNCN fully apprised of the progress of this project. The current Protocole d’Accord de Cooperation was signed in September 2003, and is in effect for two years. The parties involved have been:?• a consortium of The WILD Foundation (USA); Save the Elephants (STE- Kenya) and The Environment and Development Group (EDG - UK);?• the Direction Nationale de la Conservation de la Nature (Mali);?• with close collaboration by the Embassy of the United States in Bamako, Ambassador Vicki Huddleston.? For ease and brevity, this report will restate the overall mission and goals, then simply list the objectives of the 2004-05 field research and data compilation and briefly report on progress. Following that will be an outline summary of the 2005 work plan.
Ce rapport est bref par nature et il est soumis afin que la DNCN reste pleinement informée des progrès de ce projet. Le Protocole d’Accord de Coopération actuel a été signé en septembre 2003 et est en vigueur pendant deux ans. Les parties concernées ont été :?• un consortium constitué de la Fondation WILD (E-U); de Save the Elephants (STE- Kenya) et du Environment and Development Group (EDG - GB) ;?• la Direction Nationale de la Conservation de la Nature (Mali) ;?• avec l’étroite collaboration de l’Ambassade des Etats-Unis à Bamako et notamment de l’Ambassadrice Vicki Huddleston.?Par souci de clarté et de brièveté, ce rapport réitère la mission d’ensemble et les buts du projet, puis dresse simplement la liste des objectifs des recherches de terrain et de collecte des données pour 2004-05 et donne un bref compte rendu des progrès réalisés. Un plan de travail sommaire sera ensuite présenté pour 2005.
Accelerometers are motion-detection devices that, when attached to animals, are capable of detecting body orientation, overall activity levels, and specific behavior patterns. We deployed accelerometers in order to study the hypothesis that accelerometer output would allow us to distinguish between 4 behavior patterns in 3 adult female African elephants Loxodonta africana at Disney’s Animal Kingdom®, Florida, USA. Tri-axial accelerometer data loggers were attached to the tops of collars worn around the elephants’ necks. Behavior was documented on video while the accelerometer output was stored on the data logger. Feeding, bathing, and walking behaviors were recorded in all 3 subjects, while swaying behavior could be recorded in only 1 subject.
Elephants have always posed problems to authorities, either as crop raiders, major agents of habitat change or as a potentially valuable natural resource. Decision-makers have had to consider such diverse questions as whether elephants should be culled as an ecological management policy within a park, or whether anti-poaching forces should be reinforced and the ivory trade banned to prevent their elimination. The true status of elephant populations has been confused by their apparent over-abundance in some areas and their disappearance from others. In every case where decisions must be made, knowledge is required of how many elephants there are and how their numbers are changing.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am honoured to appear before your committee. My name is Iain Douglas-Hamilton, and I have been studying elephants in Africa since 1966. I founded the African Elephant Specialist Group of the IUCN in 1975 and launched the first pan-African elephant survey in 1977, funded by WCS and WWF. I have testified three times before Congress in the 1970s and 1980s when elephants were in peril from the ivory trade. We are once again in that situation. We are experiencing a huge upsurge in poaching, possibly to levels as high as those witnessed in the 1980s before the ivory ban. This time, however, we have more eyes on the ground and some unified systems endorsed by parties of the CITES treaty, for monitoring illegal killing of elephants (MIKE).
A variety of challenges face the conservation of African elephants, stemming from the illegal poaching for ivory to habitat loss resulting in range restriction. Solutions to these challenges require information on the factors affecting population structure, movement and reproduction in this species. In this dissertation, I investigate the relationship between ecological variation and population processes in the wild elephant population inhabiting the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves in northern Kenya. Both empirical analyses and theoretical approaches are presented, motivated by fundamental questions regarding factors influencing population structure and by applied objectives concerning the management issues facing this species.
We present a new animal space-use model (Elliptical Time-Density - ETD) that uses discrete-time tracking data collected in wildlife movement studies. The ETD model provides a trajectory-based, non-parametric approach to estimate the utilization distribution (UD) of an animal, using model parameters derived directly from the movement behavior of the species. The model builds on the theory of ‘time-geography’ whereby elliptical constraining regions are established between temporally-adjacent recorded locations. Using a Weibull speed distribution fitted for an animal's movement data, a time-density value (i.e., time per unit landscape) is determined from the expectation of all elliptical regions equal to, or greater-than, the minimum bounding ellipse for a given landscape point.
Social structure is proposed to influence the transmission of both directly and environmentally transmitted infectious agents. However in natural populations, many other factors also influence transmission, including variation in individual susceptibility and aspects of the environment that promote or inhibit exposure to infection. We used a population genetic approach to investigate the effects of social structure, environment, and host traits on the transmission of Escherichia coli infecting two populations of wild elephants: one in Amboseli National Park and another in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. If E. coli transmission is strongly influenced by elephant social structure, E. coli infecting elephants from the same social group should be genetically more similar than E. coli sampled from members of different social groups. However, we found no support for this prediction.
The impacts of increasing resource extraction on biodiversity in the Central African rainforest are largely unknown, in part due to the lack of baseline data on species occurrence across the basin. Natural forest clearings (bais) in this region are key habitats for a variety of vertebrates and offer opportunities for monitoring species distribution. Information on species composition, however, is lacking from the majority of areas (except for long-term study sites). Approaches and protocols for short-term bai assessments can greatly advance such baseline knowledge. This study demonstrates that camera traps provide an effective method for species inventories (species occurrence and temporal activity patterns) and monitoring at bais across the broader region. In comparison with direct observational studies, they performed especially well regarding rare and nocturnal species.
Natural forest clearings (bais) in the Central African rain forest attract large numbers of mammals. Little is known about the factors influencing bai use by forest species, though geophagy and hydro-mineral resources are assumed to be important attractants. In the present study, clay and mineral concentrations in water and soil were examined at 15 bais. Water samples from elephant excavated pits showed significantly higher concentrations of most minerals sampled relative to surface waters. But mineral portfolios varied markedly between bais. Geophagy sites were less differentiated from control soil samples, leading to the interpretation that geophagy may not structure bai visitation. Monthly sampling of pit water at one bai suggested higher dry season mineral concentrations, which may relate to seasonal wildlife visitation patterns.
Individual identification of the relatively cryptic forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) at forest clearings currently provides the highest quality monitoring data on this ecologically important but increasingly threatened species. Here we present baseline data from the first 20 years of an individually based study of this species, conducted at the Dzanga Clearing, Central African Republic. A total of 3,128 elephants were identified over the 20-year study (1,244 adults; 675 females, 569 males). It took approximately four years for the majority of elephants visiting the clearing to be identified, but new elephants entered the clearing every year of the study. The study population was relatively stable, varying from 1,668 to 1,864 individuals (including juveniles and infants), with increasingly fewer males than females over time.
The drivers of social affiliation may vary over time as individuals change their goals with respect to changing environments or physical condition. Studies of companion preference rarely consider shifts in motivational state, despite the potential importance of such shifts in structuring association and population processes. Ignoring state dependence in social behaviour may weaken the ability to recognize social properties and identify their underlying drivers. Modifying established approaches, we apply a state-specific analysis to investigate social properties in male African elephants, which are thought to be weakly social.
Illegal wildlife trade has reached alarming levels globally, extirpating populations of commercially valuable species. As a driver of biodiversity loss, quantifying illegal harvest is essential for conservation and sociopolitical affairs but notoriously difficult. Here we combine field-based carcass monitoring with fine-scale demographic data from an intensively studied wild African elephant population in Samburu, Kenya, to partition mortality into natural and illegal causes. We then expand our analytical framework to model illegal killing rates and population trends of elephants at regional and continental scales using carcass data collected by a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species program.
A multi volume typescript report to Iain Douglas-Hamilton to be used as part of his final 1979 report to US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D. C. Focused on the ivory trade in terms of size with respect to utilization of tusks as well as economic base of the trade this consultancy provides data on the history and present ivory legal and illegal trade within Africa and between Africa and major importing nations.
Efforts to curb elephant poaching have focused on reducing demand, confiscating ivory and
boosting security patrols in elephant range. Where land is under multiple uses and ownership,
determining the local poaching dynamics is important for identifying successful conservation
models. Using 2,403 verified elephant, Loxodonta africana, mortality records
collected from 2002 to 2012 and the results of aerial total counts of elephants conducted in
2002, 2008 and 2012 for the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem of northern Kenya, we sought to
determine the influence of land ownership and use on diurnal elephant distribution and on
poaching levels.We show that the annual proportions of illegally killed (i.e., poached) elephants
increased over the 11 years of the study, peaking at 70% of all recorded deaths in
Network resilience to perturbation is fundamental to functionality in systems ranging from synthetic communication networks to evolved social organization. While theoretical work offers insight into causes of network robustness, examination of natural networks can identify evolved mechanisms of resilience and how they are related to the selective
pressures driving structure. Female African elephants (Loxodonta africana ) exhibit complex social networks with node heterogeneity in which older individuals serve as connectivity hubs. Recent ivory poaching targeting older elephants in a well studied population has mirrored the targeted removal of highly connected nodes in the theoretical
literature that leads to structural collapse. Here we tested the response of this natural network to selective knockouts.
1. In dryland ecosystems, mobility is essential for both wildlife and people to access unpre-dictable and spatially heterogeneous resources, particularly in the face of climate change. Fences can prevent connectivity vital for this mobility.
2. There are recent calls for large-scale barrier fencing interventions to address human–wild-life conflict and illegal resource extraction. Fencing has costs and benefits to people and wild-life. However, the evidence available for facilitating sound decision-making for fencing initiatives is limited, particularly for drylands.
3. We identify six research areas that are key to informing evaluations of fencing initiatives: economics, edge permeability, reserve design, connectivity, ecosystem services and communities.
4. Policy implications.
This document has been prepared at the invitation of the Narok County Government Department of Lands, Urban Development and Physical Planning and the County Assembly Committee on Natural Resources at a stakeholders forum on spatial plan development and resource mobilisation held in Narok on 16 - 17 October 2014.
Kenya’s development blueprints - Vision 2030, the Constitution of Kenya (2010) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) - recognise the importance of sustainable use of natural resources, reduction of biodiversity loss, and maintenance of ecosystem processes. Vision 2030 identifies securing of wildlife dispersal areas and migratory routes/corridors and pathways as significant ingredients of sustainable eco-tourism. Biodiversity and ecosystem conservation contribute immensely to Kenya’s national economy with close to 80% of tourism earnings attributed to wildlife.
Determining underlying demographic population processes is fundamental for the management and monitoring of wildlife species (Caughley & Sinclair 1994). Data on demographic processes (fecundity, survival, age of first reproduction, etc.) allow quantification of population trajectories, the identification of population sectors to which growth is most sensitive and determinations of the mechanisms driving population trends (Caswell 2001). In particular, when animal populations have suffered severe declines, demographic data are critical for evaluating what conservation measures might be effective and estimating time to recovery (Beissinger & Westphal 1998). Such information is fundamental to policy debates regarding the viability and benefits of species trade.
Art historians are uncertain when the Vietnamese first started to use ivory in any significant manner
within the country. Certain tribal ethnic groups had used a small amount of ivory from the elephants
living in the forests around them, some of which they captured and domesticated. The Mnong tribe, for example, are well known historically for wearing ivory earplugs, still seen for sale in antique shops in the main cities, but silver jewellery now is the traditional symbol of wealth in many hill tribes in the region, such as silver necklaces and headdress ornaments.
The use of ivory is minor, in comparison. Raw tusks have passed through Vietnam to China for
hundreds of years. In the early 15th century King Le Loi of Vietnam sent four pieces of tusk to China as part of a peace pact (Nguyen-Long 2013). The tradition in Vietnam is long, dating back over 1,000 years of Vietnamese artisans
ABSTRACT: Accelerometers can be used to monitor animal behavior remotely, but validation is
required for each species. Previously, we showed that accelerometer data in collars could be used
to identify specific behaviors in African elephants Loxodonta africana, using complex analytical
methods. Here, we show that simple methods can also be used to identify elephant activity levels
and body orientation. Subjects were 6 African elephants: 3 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom®, Florida,
USA, and 3 in Samburu-Laikipia, Kenya. Each elephant wore a collar containing a tri-axial ac -
celerometer positioned on top of the neck. Simultaneous video recordings allowed validation of
accelerometer data against observed behavior. The standard deviation of the total acceleration
was shown to be a valid measure of dynamic acceleration, differentiating activity levels associated
with resting, feeding, bathing, walking,
Balancing conservation and infrastructure developmentConserving land and ecosystem connectivity for wildlife is increasingly a global challenge as demand for infrastructure development to meet growing human population needs encroaches in many traditional wildlife areas. The survival of wildlife species in arid and semi-arid systems requires interconnected landscapes, and limiting animal movement greatly reduces the system’s ability to sustain viable wildlife populations (Vasudev et al. 2015). Major infrastructural developments such as multi-lane highways and railways can sever wildlife movement often with negative consequences (Clevenger and Waltho 2005; van-der-Ree et al. 2011; Xia et al. 2007).
Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (?0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little “old” ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of “rapid” transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon–Gabon–Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products.
Dominance hierarchies are expected to form in response to socioecological pressures and competitive regimes. We assess dominance relationships among free-ranging female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and compare them with those of African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana), which are known to exhibit age-based dominance hierarchies. Both species are generalist herbivores, however, the Asian population occupies a more productive and climatically stable environment relative to that of the African savannah population. We expected this would lower competition relative to the African taxon, relaxing the need for hierarchy. We tested whether 1) observed dominance interactions among individuals were transitive, 2) outcomes were structured either by age or by social unit according to 4 independent ranking methods, and 3) hierarchy steepness among classes was significant using David’s score.