Recent sighting of the Knysna Elephant
April 4, 2016
She really is out there and was spotted recently by a ranger on duty. Yesterday she was spotted by field workers from MTO.
SANParks conducts an ongoing elephant monitoring programme, which was initiated in 1987, aimed at gathering information on the current elephant population’s status, elephant spatial distribution and behavioural and movement patterns.
Although previous monitoring efforts relied mostly on tracking, seeing and photographing the elephants, preliminary data indicates that these approaches may be disturbing to the elephants, as they have in the past reacted negatively, by destroying trap cameras after flashes were set-off and/or changing direction and speed of movements after being tracked and photographed by monitors/researchers/film crews.
Therefore, the monitoring techniques used currently, are non-intrusive to the elephants and involve gathering data on elephant signs, for example dung circumference measurements, notes on feeding signs and dung sample taking for elephant hormone studies. The hormone studies are aimed at determining the reproductive potential of individuals in the group as well as assessing the level of stress hormones released when the elephants move through certain areas.