Original Research

Mitochondrial DNA analysis of two southern African elephant populations

M.F. Essop, A.J. Hall-Martin, E.H. Harley
Koedoe | Vol 39, No 1 | a284 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v39i1.284 | © 1996 M.F. Essop, A.J. Hall-Martin, E.H. Harley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 1996 | Published: 06 August 1996

About the author(s)

M.F. Essop, University of Cape Town Medical School, South Africa
A.J. Hall-Martin, National Parks Board, South Africa
E.H. Harley, University of Cape Town Medical School, South Africa

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Abstract

The modern view is that there are at most only two valid forms of the African elephant namely Loxodonta qfricana africana, the bush elephant, and L.a. cyclotis, the forest elephant (Ansell 1974; Meester et al. 1986). The Knysna elephant which was also described as a separate sub-species is now almost extinct. Plans to augment the remnant population by introducing other animals must take into account the taxonomic questions and issue of conserving elephant gene pools (Greig 1982a). Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) restriction fragment-size comparisons were performed on specimens from the Kruger National Park and the Addo Elephant National Park. If the Addo population's results are extrapolated to the Knysna population, it may be concluded that there is no genetic evidence for the Kruger and Knysna elephant populations to be considered as different sub-species.

Keywords

Loxodonta, subspecies, mtDNA, Knysna, Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park.

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