African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are important ecosystem engineers and play a significant role (both positive and negative) in ecosystems and human livelihoods.
Our elephant research focus on the conservation ecology of elephants in small fenced parks as well as open systems. It is comparative and we hope to learn more on how to best conserve these animals under these different management regimes.
Our current study areas include Madikwe Game Reserve (fenced park in South Africa) and Hwange National Park (open system in Zimbabwe). Both these sites represent some of the highest elephant population densities in Africa.
We aim to provide insight into how fenced and open systems affect social dynamics, stress levels, movement, resource utilization and water use. We also study human-elephant co-existence.
Our research is used as a tool to promote thriving and well adapted ecosystems within fenced and open systems, by providing a baseline of consistent data and assessments which are easily repeated throughout Southern Africa.