Large tusked and potentially large tusked elephant bulls are becoming scarce in most elephant populations, particularly due to poaching of elephants for ivory and selection pressure for large tusks by trophy hunters. Scientists are concerned that a heritable trait, such as large tusks, could shift towards smaller tusked individuals over time if left unregulated. Hence large tusked and potentially large tusked elephants need to be protected from over-exploitation.
As a step towards understanding this issue, in this study we will use a questionnaire to assess the ability of selected professional hunters, field guides and rangers, as well as tertiary level conservation students in South Africa, to sex, age, and estimate tusk size of elephants of known gender and age class. Results will be used to inform conservation policy and to develop education and awareness strategies for elephant conservation.