Irven O. Buss

Publication Date



A half century of experience managing deer, elk, and other herbivorous game mammals in America has shown that no known management method is more effective than scientifically controlling population numbers to carrying capacity. Unfortunately, such experience is wanting among many wildlife managers in Africa. Consequently, inadequate harvest of elephants made in Kabalega Falls and only a scientific sample obtained in Tsavo National Park has resulted in serious degradation of ranges, reduced fertility and reproduction, lower chance for survival of all age groups, particularly juveniles, lower biotic diversity, reduced flow of energy through the ecosystem, and loss of the opportunity for human utilization of the resource. In Kruger National Park of South Africa, however, elephants have been scientifically managed for a decade, including annual harvests or "cullings." Between 1905 and 1970 elephants increased rapidly. When culling operations began in 1968, they were planned as a holding action against unrestrained increase of elephants in the park and possible immigration; by 1971 this goal was achieved. At that time the first decline in elephant numbers was noted. Expected future quotas for cropping will probably range from 200 to 400 elephants annually, unless the population drops below 7,000, at which level cropping would cease. Hopefully, this program, or a similar one, will serve as a foundation for management of elephants on many of their remaining ranges in Africa.

Recommended Citation

Buss, I. O. (1980). Management Suggestions for the African Elephant. Elephant, 1(5), 19-35. Doi: 10.22237/elephant/1521731832