The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Knysna, Nature

Human Activity Stresses Knysna’s Lone Female Elephant, Studies Confirm

Michael Hawthorne

GARDEN ROUTE – Recent studies by South African National Parks (SANParks) have shed light on the well-being of the solitary female elephant inhabiting the Knysna forest. The organisation conducted a detailed assessment of the elephant’s physiological and behavioural patterns to guide future management decisions.

Stress hormone analysis of the elephant’s dung revealed fluctuations based on human presence. In areas of low human activity, the elephant exhibited lower stress levels. Conversely, her stress hormones increased when she was followed by humans or encountered areas with significant human activity.

Camera trap footage supported these findings, showing the elephant in a relaxed state when undisturbed, but exhibiting signs of avoidance behaviour in areas with a greater likelihood of human contact.

These studies emphasize the need for cautious management strategies that minimize disturbance to the elephant. SANParks is committed to consulting with experts to determine the best course of action for the elephant’s future.


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