Two Decades On

For almost two decades, our head researcher, Dr Michelle Henley, has been monitoring aspects of the ecology and demography of one of South Africa’s largest continuous elephant populations. Our research on elephants on the eastern border of Kruger began with an elephant identification study conducted on an ad hoc basis by Michelle and her mother, Cathy Greyling, in 1996. In 2001, Marlene McCay became a Trustee of Save The Elephants (STE), a UK-based charity working in four regions of Africa. In 2003, Michelle and Marlene commenced a research study operating in Southern Africa with Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton of STE, namely the Transboundary Elephant Research Programme, based in the Associated Private Nature Reserves adjacent to Kruger National Park. In 2004, within the same study area, Michelle completed her PhD on the Sex- and Age Related Feeding Distinctions in the African Elephant, Loxodonta africana Presently, the research extends to the North, East and West of Kruger. Over fifty elephants have been collared since the outset of the programme.

Recently, Save the Elephants–South Africa has been launched under the new name of Elephants Alive, working in close collaboration with STE on tracking, mortality and the Great Tusker campaign. This comes at a critical time when elephants are being decimated across Africa. We are continually expanding our elephant identification study and also have a large tree mitigation programme in place which was started in 2004. Elephants Alive continues to monitor aspects of the ecology and demography of elephants in the wider Kruger ecosystem, as well as in other regions in Southern Africa.