By: Maddie G.
A study that was done by behavioral ecologists from the University of Sussex in England focused on the effects of culling and relocation on elephant decision-making and cognition. The team studied two specific groups of elephants to conduct their information, one relatively undisturbed group living in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and another trans located population in Pilanesberg Park in South Africa. The Pilanesberg elephants were moved as calves following the culling of adults and older juveniles in Kruger National Park in the 1980s and 90s. The surviving elephants from the group that was trans located showed signs of negative long-term psychological damage that affected how they make crucial decisions and their cognition abilities; their symptoms from the loss of family structure paralleled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is humans. Elephants develop extremely complex and detailed social relationships with their herds over long life spans. The culling and relocating lead to deep long-term learning and knowledge issues within the elephant populations; human-generated social disruption has a profound effect on important decision-making abilities in wild African elephants that are likely to influence essential features of their social behaviors. (Read more…)