Ph.D. dissertation, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
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).