Elephants present one of the most challenging conservation conundrums of modern times. They are one of Africa’s most iconic animals yet responsible for major change in ecosystems, which can be particularly troublesome in fenced areas like ours. At Marataba, we have embraced the responsibility of conserving a functional population of elephants, but are now at the point where we have to consider growth control by immunocontraception, as well as a reduction in numbers by translocating animals to other areas. Many of the immunocontraceptive agents available are still experimental and this requires that the reproductive status of the recipients be closely monitored. To this end, we need to be able to identify individual elephants for research and monitoring purposes.
We encourage participation in the compilation of individual identikits for elephants as well as the rough determination of growth rates through the age and sex structure of herds. The information is captured and evaluated annually together with elephant impact assessments and aerial survey results, and the results are then used to inform elephant management actions and interventions.