Elephants 'less stressed in Serengeti National Park'

7th Feb 2013

Research has shown wild elephants in Africa are less stressed when they live inside protected national parks.

Scientists studying wild African elephants have found those living inside the Serengeti National Park are more relaxed and calm than those living outside the area, where they have less protection from poachers and humans who may disturb their home.

A report published in the African Journal of Ecology claims larger numbers of the animal choose to make their home inside the park, possibly because they realise it is a safer environment for them.

The rangers at the Serengeti National Park work to keep wild animals safe from threats posed by humans, including illegal hunting. But as there are no walls or fences around the park, both animals and humans can pass freely from it to other areas which are less protected.

The researchers carried out tests on the dung of elephants living inside the national park and also the neighbouring areas of Grumeti Game Reserve and Ikoma Open Area, where there is more interference from people. The team discovered the dung found in areas outside the park contained much higher levels of glucocorticoid, the stress hormone.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Trondheim-based Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

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