Providing ecological and social context for elephant immunocontraception: a case study in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
The BIWFC will host the webinar “Providing ecological and social context for elephant immunocontraception: a case study in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa” with Paul Cryer, Ecologist and Coordinator of the African Conservation Trust’s Applied Ecology Unit on Thursday, April 15 @11:00 AM (EDT). This presentation will review the setting in which elephant immunocontraception has been applied within Ithala Game Reserve, a community-owned provincial protected area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The webinar will illustrate the relationship between local priorities of elephant management and broader perspectives on national, continental and global scales. Social learning research and systems thinking show that real change in the human-elephant conflict situation cannot be induced from top-down expert-driven processes. Nor can innovations add value without being integrated into a collaboratively constructed matrix of problem identification and solution-finding. For the implementation of immunocontraception to add value within protected areas, it must dovetail with other strategies that contribute to environmental sustainability at both local and global levels.
The conflation of other fields of science into ecological thinking is influencing management options; elephants’ capacity to sense, interpret and react to their environment reveals advanced levels of self-reflexive consciousness and social organization, and this has ethical implications for all types of experimentation and management associated with elephant populations. During the presentation Paul will touch on the variety of perceptions pertaining to the disturbance of elephants through the application of immunocontraception.
Ithala Game Reserve provides a test-case where human-elephant conflict is being addressed through a suite of approaches. Within those approaches, a reduced elephant population growth rate provides an essential platform for shifting human consciousness toward a more holistic perception of sustainability, one that may be valid at local and global levels. Approaching human-elephant conflict from multiple approaches, including immunocontraception and range expansion, may point to expanded protected areas, benefitting all species, and increased socio-economic security for the human community members.