Additional External Researchers:
Manori Gunawardena, University of Colombo and Open University
Locations: Sri Lanka
This project expands on Dr. Fernando's earlier elephant ecology research in southern Sri Lanka. The Liz Claiborne/Art Ortenberg Foundation and the US Fish and Wildlife's Asian Elephant Conservation Fund support the work. Objectives, include: 1) assess the impact of management interventions on elephant ecology at the Yala National Park and buffer zone, specifically, the effect of range reduction through fencing and the effect of habitat clearing on elephant movements and behavior; 2) assess the feasibility of using ecotourism as an elephant ecology conservation; and 3) study Asian elephant social organization in the project area. Specific behavioral ecology research questions include: Are adults in a given area closely related to each other? Is there inbreeding within the populations? What are the relationships between members of family groups and between family groups? What is the reproductive pattern among males? Do different males father offspring of females in a single-family group? How many males contribute to a particular cohort in a given area? Educational outreach is being added this year as a integral part of realizing elephant conservation action. This project also serves as an excellent professional training experience for the graduate students that are employed as research assistants.
Cross Cutting Themes:
Project Web Site:
Dr. Eric Wickramanayake, World Wildlife Fund-USA;
Federal agency, Foundation