Responses to a poached conspecific in wild forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis)

Claudia Stephan, Jess J.D. Bahamboula, Terry M. Brncic
2020 Behaviour  
The increased attention towards deceased conspecifics in various social animal species is one of the most intriguing conundrums in animal behaviour. The factors that might explain the observed behavioural variation amongst individuals remain nebulous. Here we analyse forest elephants' (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) responses to a poached adult male conspecific, using remote camera trapping during a period of eight months. After completely avoiding the carcass site for over a week, females and
more » ... es substantially differed in behavioural responses. Males consistently stayed longer around the remains, showed signs of increased arousal, interacted with the dead body, and twisted trunks with each other. Females, in contrast, were more passively explorative and preferred to visit the site without their dependent offspring. Findings show a previously unknown sexual-dimorphism in forest elephant behaviour towards a poached conspecific and raise the possibility that individuals might be able to infer further context-specific information about the event.
doi:10.1163/1568539x-bja10025 fatcat:kcjbkg5hcvh3lmj3aipz2afdvy