Elephants on the edge: The use and abuse of individual and societies

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Talk held at symposium Compassionate Conservation, University of Oxford, 1 to 3 September 2010. Joyce Poole & Petter Granli, ElephantVoices. (www.elephantvoices.org)

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Elephants on the edge: The use and abuse of individual and societies

  1. Elephants on the edge: The use and abuse of individuals and societies ElephantVoices Joyce Poole & Petter Granli ElephantVoices Compassionate Conservation: Animal Welfare in Conservation Practice Symposium, University of Oxford, 1-3 september 2010
  2. Elephant huggers - or users? ElephantVoices
  3. A pillar of her society ElephantVoices Echo - 1945-2009 - died from drought & old age successfully led her family for over 38 years
  4. Some elephant attributes • Very long-lived • respond to the bones of elephants with special contemplation. • Unusually large social network • appear to have rudimentary • Close and enduring cooperative social understanding of death relationships • development includes social learning • large and complex brains and behavioral innovation • accumulate and retain social and • Capable of use and modification of ecological knowledge rudimentary tools • remember scents and voices of other • Capable of vocal learning individuals for decades • Show empathetic behavior • ability to make subtle discriminations between predators is age related • Self-aware • behavior in the wild and in captivity • long-life, memory, intelligence, and suggests ability to use long-term sociality, may make elephants more memories to "keep score" and to vulnerable to trauma and its longer- retaliate for wrongs done term psychological consequences • show reconciliatory behaviour
  5. Commercial use of African Elephants Non-consumptive use: • photographic tourism Consumptive use: • capture for captivity • trophy hunting • ivory trade ElephantVoices • Bush meat trade Photographic tourism Amboseli
  6. Commercial use of African Elephants Non-consumptive use: • photographic tourism Consumptive use: • capture for captivity • trophy hunting • ivory trade • Bush meat trade Captured, female housed alone, zoo, South Africa
  7. Commercial use of African Elephants Non-consumptive use: • photographic tourism Consumptive use: • capture for captivity • trophy hunting • ivory trade • Bush meat trade ElephantVoices Ed, a trophy?
  8. Commercial use of African Elephants Non-consumptive use: • photographic tourism Consumptive use: • capture for captivity • trophy hunting • ivory trade • Bush meat trade Amboseli Trust for Elephants Recent poaching - young male Amboseli
  9. Families, Bond Groups, Clans, Populations & beyond to Strangers ElephantVoices Gail and descendants waiting for Grace
  10. Individuals: building blocks of society • When a mother dies her orphaned calves die, too • families likely to split after matriarch death • smaller families have lower reproductive success • families with young leaders less able to make appropriate decisions in times of crisis ElephantVoices
  11. The importance of female longevity in elephant society ElephantVoices Chloe, age 50, & her family react with alarm to the sounds of lions
  12. The importance of female longevity in elephant society ElephantVoices Chloe steps forward to assess the threat
  13. The importance of female longevity in elephant society ElephantVoices Chloe decides to attack
  14. The importance of female longevity in elephant society ElephantVoices Chloe calls in the troops for a group attack
  15. Male elephant society relatives & friends ElephantVoices Handsome, Gomer & friends at rest
  16. longevity is key to male reproductive success • average male life expectancy is 24 years, including illness, accident, predation, drought & human-induced deaths • only 1/2 of males born survive to peak competitive ages of musth, whatever their cause of death • Males begin to reproduce successfully by age 40, when 3/4 of males will have already died Cynthia Moss • Dionysus lived to age 65 - becoming one of Amboseli’s Dionysus most successful males
  17. longevity is key to male reproductive success • average male life expectancy is 24 years, including illness, accident, predation, drought & human-induced deaths • only 1/2 of males born survive to peak competitive ages of musth, whatever their cause of death • Males begin to reproduce successfully by age 40, when 3/4 of males will have already died • Dionysus lived to age 65 - becoming one of Amboseli’s most successful males ElephantVoices Dionysus
  18. Capturing calves for sale to elephant-back safaris, zoos, circuses ElephantVoices Mother, allomothers and newborn calf
  19. Capturing calves for sale to elephant-back safaris, zoos, circuses NSPCA Captured “Tuli baby”
  20. Deprivation in captivity • 25% of living captive elephants in USA wild caught Zimbabwe • 50% of 87 Zimbabwe elephants on record have died, though many not accounted for • One shipment of 63, 14 died within a week of arrival before they were accounted for • The practice continues Junia Machado Terezita stands alone & swaying wild-caught in Zimbabwe 10 years in a Brazilian circus 14 years in Sao Paulo Zoo
  21. Deprivation in captivity • 25% of living captive elephants in USA wild caught Zimbabwe • 50% of 87 Zimbabwe elephants on record have died, though many not accounted for • One shipment of 63, 14 died within a week of arrival before they were accounted for • The practice continues Junia Machado Teresita stands alone & swaying wild-caught in Zimbabwe 10 years in a Brazilian circus 14 years in Sao Paulo Zoo
  22. Deprivation in captivity • 25% of living captive elephants in USA wild caught Zimbabwe • 50% of 87 Zimbabwe elephants on record have died, though many not accounted for • One shipment of 63, 14 died within a week of arrival before they were accounted for • The practice continues Junia Machado Teresita stands alone & swaying wild-caught in Zimbabwe 10 years in a Brazilian circus 14 years in Sao Paulo Zoo
  23. Deprivation in captivity • 25% of living captive elephants in USA wild caught Zimbabwe • 50% of 87 Zimbabwe elephants on record have died, though many not accounted for • One shipment of 63, 14 died within a week of arrival before they were accounted for • The practice continues Junia Machado Teresita stands alone & swaying wild-caught in Zimbabwe 10 years in a Brazilian circus 14 years in Sao Paulo Zoo
  24. Deprivation in captivity • 25% of living captive elephants in USA wild caught Zimbabwe • 50% of 87 Zimbabwe elephants on record have died, though many not accounted for • One shipment of 63, 14 died within a week of arrival before they were accounted for • The practice continues Junia Machado Teresita stands alone & swaying wild-caught in Zimbabwe 10 years in a Brazilian circus 14 years in Sao Paulo Zoo
  25. Deprivation in captivity • 25% of living captive elephants in USA wild caught Zimbabwe • 50% of 87 Zimbabwe elephants on record have died, though many not accounted for • One shipment of 63, 14 died within a week of arrival before they were accounted for • The practice continues Junia Machado Teresita stands alone & swaying wild-caught in Zimbabwe 10 years in a Brazilian circus 14 years in Sao Paulo Zoo
  26. “Trophy” hunting ElephantVoices Tolstoy
  27. “Trophy” hunting ElephantVoices Tolstoy
  28. “Trophy” hunting www.thechiefbaboon.com www.thechiefbaboon.com
  29. “Trophy” hunting www.thechiefbaboon.com Musango Bull www.thechiefbaboon.com
  30. Poaching on the upsurge ElephantVoices Handsome 1961-2009 died before reaching his reproductive peak
  31. The ivory trade ElephantVoices
  32. The ivory trade ElephantVoices enormous suffering
  33. Percent observed 0 20 40 60 80 1966 Luangwa 100 1966 Tsavo East 1967 Murchison Falls N 1967 Murchison Falls S 1967 Budongo 1968 Mkomasi relatively protected 1970 Manyara 1988 Amboseli 1977 Kasunga 1981 Luangwa 1988 Mkomasi 1989 Tsavo East Adult sex ratios poaching 15 years & above 1989 Tsavo West 1989 Mikumi 1989 Queen Elizabeth Male Female Lewis, 1984 References Poole, 1989 Laws, 1969a Olindo, 1988 Jachmann, 1980 Douglas-Hamilton, 1972
  34. Percentage observed 0 20 40 60 80 100 1989 Amboseli 2009 Serengeti 2009 Tarangire relatively protected 2009 Ruaha-Rungwa 2009 Katavi 2009 Selous 1989 Tsavo East 1989 Tsavo West poaching 1989 Mikumi Breeding sex ratios 1989 Queen Elizabeth Females 10+; Males 25+ 2009 Ugalla Male References Jones, 2010 Poole, 1989 Female
  35. Targets of poachers’ bullets Gail and her descendants
  36. Mean tusk weights in trade 12 10 Mean tusk weight Kg 8 6 4 2 0 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 2010 References Caldwell, 1984, 1987 Caldwell & Barzdo,1985 ElephantVoices CITES, 2010 WTMU, 1983
  37. The domino effect ElephantVoices Hazel & family, 2007; Hazel died 2009
  38. Family Structure, 1989 100 80 Percent of families observed Amboseli, Kenya Mikumi, Tanzania 60 40 20 0 Intact, matriarch>30 Intact, matriarch<30 Missing adults Mostly orphans Poole, 1989
  39. demographic signature of poaching persists • Females orphaned become “floaters” lacking a social network • Reproductive output is severely compromised • 30% of families contain only one adult female • Fearful & aggressive behaviour prevalent • Tusklessness is common Courtesy of Amy Gambrill & Gorongosa NP Gorongosa’s tuskless & angry leaders
  40. Not forgotten ElephantVoices Esmeralda’s bones are visited regularly
  41. Not forgotten ElephantVoices where five elephant trails converge
  42. Conclusions • individual building blocks of societies are often forgotten, purposefully ignored and disposed of as organizations and nations barter away lives in the name of economics, sustainable utilization and politics. • Higher priority needs to be given to the consequences of consumptive utilisation. these practices inflict enormous impact on individuals and societies. • Compassionate conservation means accounting for the well being of individuals - acknowledging that they have value in their own right and realizing the full impact of our actions on their societies. • Compassion for the interests and lives of other beings must be incorporated into conservation in order to secure the health of our planet, its web of species and our own survival. www.elephantvoices.org
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