Elephant cull affects ‘last decades’
AFRICAN elephants’ decisionmaking abilities are still impaired by culling operations that ended decades ago, according to research from the University of Sussex in the UK, reports BBC News.
A study found that herds, such as those in the Pilanesberg National Park that lost adults to culls during the 1970s and 1980s, were less able to respond appropriately to other elephant calls.
Professor Karen McComb said their “social understanding” had been impaired by the loss of the adults in results published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.
The scientists say this is the first “evidence that fundamental social skills may be significantly impaired by man-made disruption”.
However, David Bozas, who worked with “Elephant Whisperer” Anthony Lawrence, said elephants were highly emotional.
“I don’t think they lose the ability if they have no matriarch, but this just highlights the need for emotional stimulus,” he said.
Bozas said orphan elephants in herds could be likened to teenagers with absent parents. “But once they start interacting with other people, they are okay,” he said.
Lawrence, who died last year, was famous for his work with elephants. When he died, it was reported that an elephant herd arrived at his home each night, a testament to the emotional connection elephants have.