A Fireside Conversation with Dr. Kate Evans, elephant researcher of the 'lifestyle' of elephant bulls in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana revealed that although much research has been done on Elephant Matriarchs and their herds, little research has been evidenced on Elephant Bulls. The reason is they were historically thought to be nomadically sewing their wild seeds and only interested in mating until they are past it, and then hunters prized them as great tuskers.
"Is there any difference between elephant bulls reared in normal elephant society and the young males who are becoming adolescents and adults after being orphaned in the great Kruger cull?"
Kate enlightened us that she had only studied 3 captive elephants released into the wild. One was released on his own and was very timid, and afraid of being curious to explore his environment. The other two were released together and were a lot more confident.
"However they all were all quite unique in their individual personalities", Kate adds, "Whether born free or released from captivity".
"Do you know of the elephant bulls, originally orphaned in the great Kruger cull, who were released into Madikwe and Pilanesberg, and began to behave very strangely, killing rhinos, until Joyce Poole, elephant expert in musth, advised the reserves to bring in some older bulls to calm these youngsters down and teach them to behave?"
"Yes|" Kate answers, "Joyce gave some great advice. The adolescent elephant bulls were coming into musth because there were no older bulls around to suppress the early onset. The female elephants did not want to mate with immature youngsters, so the elephants tried to mate with something else that was big and grey - rhinos! The results were not good. A biologist at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Rob Slotow, together with other experts also details these events that he refers to as "juvenile delinquent behavior".
"Thanks for this insight Kate, do you think we can learn any life insights from elephant bulls that are valuable for Re-firement?|
"Definitely", confirms Kate, and went on to enlighten us that in situations where there are enthusiastic youngsters full of testosterone in the sporting or business arena, it is very important to have "adult bulls" with many years of experience, who set boundaries that enable the young men and women to calm down, be less extreme, and confine any outbursts within the right realms of behavior. Kate emphasizes that these youngsters are such public icons watched worldwide and can themselves be great mentors for their fans.
The good news is that we continue to converse with Dr. Kate Evans this week. The focus is on Bull Elephants Bring Clarity, and we will consider 4 areas in which clarity needs to show up, and 4 suggest activities that can support this process.
If you would like to join us on the online Free Fireside Conversation this week: