Forest elephant dung decay in Ndoki Forest, northern Congo

Thomas Breuer, Mireille Ndoundou Hockemba


The decay of elephant dung piles has been shown to be a complex process. Rainfall has been attributed as the main factor influencing dung pile survival in various central African forests. This study monitored elephant dung piles from deposition to disappearance to show that dung survival in Ndoki Forest in northern Congo
is mainly influenced by the intensity of irradiance and minimum temperature in the days after deposition. This could lead to substantial differences of dung decay in pristine forest compared with logged forest with a disturbed canopy, and care should be taken when applying rainfall models to calculate dung decay rates.
On-site surveying of elephant dung piles covering all habitat types should therefore be undertaken before any elephant dung survey is conducted.


density estimates; Loxodonta africana cyclotis; monitoring; rainfall; rainforest

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