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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Quantifying forest elephant social structure in Central African bai environments
Authors: Fishlock, Vicki
Lee, Phyllis C
Breuer, Thomas
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Keywords: Fission-fusion sociality
Republic of Congo
Loxodonta africana cyclotis
Bai environments
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Citation: Fishlock V, Lee PC & Breuer T (2008) Quantifying forest elephant social structure in Central African bai environments, Pachyderm, 44, pp. 19-28.
Abstract: Relatively little is known of social dynamics in forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), although the fission-fusion model of sociality known in savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana africana) is used as a template. Until fission-fusion sociality or an alternative model is demonstrated, our understanding of how elephants use their environment remains incomplete. To date, there have been no published studies of associations between individuals in forest elephants. Direct observations of forest elephants made at forest clearings (bais) are here used as an approach to studying these questions. Bais represent a special environment, providing mineral and food resources, as well as potential social opportunities. We show that forest elephants at Mbeli Bai in NouabalĂ©-Ndoki National Park have association patterns that are consistent over time, and that certain conspecifics are preferred as associates in the bai environment. Coupled with significant differences in the group size and composition across age-sex classes, and a high proportion of sightings of lone individuals, we argue that the fission-fusion model of elephant sociality appears to hold for the bai environment. The extent of this system and the importance of bais as social resources remain to be explored.
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Pachyderm provides immediate Open Access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Reproduction of this publication for educational or other non-commercial purposes is authorized without written permission from the copyright holder provided the source is fully acknowledged.
Affiliation: Psychology
Wildlife Conservation Society (Africa Program)

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