African Journal of Ecology 43:215-219
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.