Orphaned Elephants Under Study in Tsavo


||?,9 *Since 1965, sixteen elephant orphaned or abandoned because of poaching have been successfully returned to the wild in Tsavo East National Park.

The last four orphans, from Daphne Sheldrick’s orphanage in Nairobi National Park, were reintro-duced in April 1995 and are no longer dependent on humans. A long-term study of the orphans, originally from many parts ofKenya, is underway in Tsavo East.

The objective is to collect detailed data on the growth and development of reintroduced, unrelated elephant and compare them with data on wild elephants of the same age. Behaviour examined includes association with wild elephant, vegetation choice, play, travel, resting and mud wallowing.

The hope is that assessment of the orphan’s behaviour will enhance future management decisions. Already, differences in play, feeding and resting habits have been noted among the orphans.

Contact of any sort with humans is now severely restricted, and interaction with wild elephant is given greater passive encouragement.