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Reproduction of elephant in gonarezhou southeastern rhodesia



Reproduction of elephant in gonarezhou southeastern rhodesia



Arnoldia 7(29): 1-13



Aspects of reproduction in a sample of 1737 elephant [Loxodonta africana] from the Gonarezhou, SE Rhodesia, are described. The fetal and secondary sex ratio up to 17 yr of age did not depart significantly from equality. Males left family units soon after 17 yr of age and 88% of conceptions occurred in the wet season. In 1972 there was an apparent extension of the breeding season after exceptional rains. Females reached maturity at 12-13 yr and males at about 12 yr. The mean calving interval was about 4 yr and annual recruitment was calculated at 7%. Slight inaccuracies in the aging technique used suggest this figure to be high. Fertility was high in females aged 12-49 yr, with a sharp decline after 50 yr. In spite of high elephant densities and extensive damage to all major elephant habitats, there was no evidence that self-regulatory mechanisms had begun to curb the reproductive rate.

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