The behaviour and movements of adolescent male African elephant Loxodonta africana in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

A PhD study by Kate Evans

elephant (24K)
© Mammal Research Unit
Photo by Kate Evans

The purpose of this study is to investigate the period of adolescence in male elephants and their transition from the social environment of the herd to the less social state of adulthood. Much work has been carried out on elephants but this has been focused on the females, young males still in the herd and adult bulls. However it is male elephants that are the main perpetrators of crop damage and thus have a larger impact on the social economics of the local communities. Despite this, it is bulls that we know least about.

The work encompasses bull elephant social interactions, habitat utilisation and vocalisations. Another aspect of the work is to examine the viability of releasing captive animals back into the wild. This project will provide information to enable a realistic elephant conservation programme to be implemented in Botswana, based on scientific data about their ecology, population dynamics and habitat utilisation within the delta, it also addresses the long term management issues of Elephant Back Safaris (EBS).

The study is being conducted in Northern Botswana, which supports what is thought to be the largest remaining population of elephants currently standing at 101 000. The Okavango delta and surrounding area has been divided up into the Moremi Game Reserve and various concession areas, which belong to the local communities who manage them. I am based in the concession area NG26 which is leased by Elephant Back Safaris (EBS) and covers an area of 5 000 km2, supporting a wide variety of vegetation types including sedges, rushes, grasses, woodland and palms.

Contact details

Dr Kate Evans
Mammal Research Unit
School of Biological Sciences
University of Bristol
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UG, U.K.

Telephone: 0117 9288918
Email: Dr Kate Evans