Some of the most important decisions in wildlife management in Africa revolve around elephants. Where elephant densities increase locally –be it through population growth with limited opportunity for natural dispersal or through range compression– the impact of elephants on their habitats and other species may also increase. Depending on local values and/or the land-use objectives, this impact is often seen as undesirable. Methods such as culling, translocation, range expansion, manipulation of water sources, and contraception are options that have been used or proposed to reduce elephant numbers or densities.
Information about attempts to control wild populations of elephants is generally not readily accessible to the relevant managers and conservation authorities in Africa, much of it being scattered in diverse reports and scientific papers or as part of the body of unwritten expert knowledge. The main objective of this document is to make available lessons learned from the past and from ongoing efforts to manage the negative ecological impact of African elephants, and to provide a summary of the main technical considerations and pros and cons of the different management options available.
These guidelines, available in English, French and Portuguese, were compiled by a task force convened by the African Elephant Specialist Group. This task force comprised the following AfESG experts: Dr David Balfour, Dr Holly T Dublin, Dr Deborah Gibson, Mr Leo Niskanen and Dr Ian Whyte.