Beyond culling: Elephants Alive tracking project informs conservation planning

Elephants Alive

Runner-up: Species Conservation Award and Biodiversity Stewardship Award

Twenty years ago, Dr Michelle Henley began monitoring southern Africa’s elephant populations. By 2003 she was able to co-found Elephants Alive and expand her study area to monitor elephant movements throughout the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. It is here that her work is vital. By implementing long-term radio tracking of one of Africa’s most important elephant populations, a greater understanding of elephant movements has been able to inform long-term conservation planning.

Through data gathered over a 20-year period it is evident, now that the Kruger National Park fences are down, elephants are moving back into their former ranges. This includes private ranches to the west, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe to the north, and the Limpopo National Park to the east in Mozambique.

This knowledge has been critical to allowing South African National Parks more flexibility in their elephant population management programme, which formerly depended on culling as the only means of population control.

Elephants Alive is also involved in the protection of the species by partnering with other organisations at the forefront of anti-poaching efforts, and aids in the preservation of other species, particularly trees, birds and bees.

Elephants Alive monitors over 3 000 large trees for elephant impact and the survival of endangered birds. Now, 62 monitored trees are home to southern ground hornbills and 226 trees are nesting sites for raptors and vultures.

To dissuade elephants from breaking these and other trees, the team suspended beehives from the branches. Elephants dislike bees and avoid these trees. It’s a win/win solution, protecting the tree, generating honey for sale, providing nesting sites for endangered vultures — and mitigating human-elephant conflict.


Stay in China, government tells homesick South Africans

As ‘impisoned’ children at epicentre cry to be reunited with their parents, top official says families mustn’t be ungrateful

Cradock Four back to haunt De Klerk

Pressure is mounting on the NPA to charge the former president and others involved in political killings during apartheid

Ramaphosa makes peace with Malema over gender-based violence comments

In his Sona response, the president apologised for the weaponising of gender-based violence, saying the attack on the red beret leader was "uncalled for"

Steenhuisen takes the lead in DA race while Ntuli falters

‘If you want a guarantee buy a toaster. This is politics’

Press Releases

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs

Looking inwards

Businesses are finding tangible ways to give back – but only because consumers demand it