Dung boli in the cave

“Fresh” dung boli in the dark back of Kitum cave are a clear indication for a recent elephant visit. In this special case we have been very excited to come upon this small boli because it´s size attest, it was dropped by a very young animal.

To gain knowledge on the elephant population demography on Mount Elgon, MECEP will apply a non-invasive method for estimating elephant age from dung-boli diameter. It is a proofed survey model developed in the long-term research project on the Savannah elephants of Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

 

  • Mount Elgon’s elephants offer unique investigation options: The population is composed of forest-dwelling Savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana), living in a montane area. Optained data can be compared with other elephant (sub-)species as well as other elephant habitats regarding the development of new conservation strategies.

 

The Elgon elephants roam through a wide range of vegetation types in the transnational area of mountain: montane forest, wooded grassland, bamboo forests. Actually, there are still some other montane elephants refuge left. Mount Elgon’s elephant can act as a model to help developing sustainable long-term strategies for other elephant populations.

Forest elephants (L. cyclotis) are an elusive subspecies of the African elephants, dwelling the dense rain-forests of west and central Africa. Their preference for dense forest habitats make it difficult for conservationists and researcher to investigate the populations by using traditional counting methods such as visual identification. Population size and demography are usually estimated through “dung methods”- the analysis in the field of the demography or density and distribution of the feces.

 

MECEP is actively looking for future collaboration with other elephant research projects, comparing methods and results regarding sustainable conservation strategies.