Original Research

The effect of mature elephant bull introductions on ranging patterns of resident bulls: Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Heleen Druce, K. Pretorius, D. Druce, R. Slotow
Koedoe | Vol 49, No 2 | a115 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v49i2.115 | © 2006 Heleen Druce, K. Pretorius, D. Druce, R. Slotow | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 December 2006 | Published: 18 December 2006

About the author(s)

Heleen Druce, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
K. Pretorius, Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa
D. Druce, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
R. Slotow, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Abstract

Increasing popularity of wildlife viewing has resulted in a rapid increase in small, enclosed reserves in South Africa. The African elephant is one of the many species that has been reintroduced into these reserves for eco-tourism. These elephant populations were established as young (smaller that 10 years old) orphans from prior Kruger National Park culling operations. Consequently, this abnormal sex and age structure of these introduced populations has influenced their behavioural and spatial ecology. In Pilanesberg National Park, this abnormal behaviour was corrected by introducing older bulls and culling certain problem elephants. In July 2003, three older bulls (29–41 years old) were introduced into Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in order to normalise the bull age structure. These introduced bulls were monitored intensively after release, as was the resident bull population, both before and after introduction of the older bulls. The introduced bulls settled into restricted ranges separate from the family groups. All the resident bulls decreased their home ranges at first, with most increasing their home ranges a year later. The resident bulls’ change in ranging patterns was due more to ecological factors than to the influence of the mature bull introduction. This study indicates that the introduction of older male elephants into small populations does not pose major risks or animal welfare concerns.

Keywords

Loxodonta africana; Adaptive management; Movement patterns; Kernel ranges; GIS

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Crossref Citations

1. How Immunocontraception Can Contribute to Elephant Management in Small, Enclosed Reserves: Munyawana Population as a Case Study
Heleen C. Druce, Robin L. Mackey, Rob Slotow, Matt Hayward
PLoS ONE  vol: 6  issue: 12  first page: e27952  year: 2011  
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027952