Final Colloquium by Mr. Sreedhar Vijayakrishnan on 'Seeing the Elephant: Socioecology and Physiology of the Female Asian Elephant Elephas maximus in an Anthropogenic Landscape'

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus



Microsoft Teams Presentation


Final Colloquium



Title: Seeing the Elephant:  Socioecology and Physiology of the Female Asian Elephant 

           Elephas maximus in an Anthropogenic Landscape

Candidate: Sreedhar Vijayakrishnan

Advisor: Prof. Anindya Sinha

Date:  Friday, 19 June 2020

Time:  10:30 am

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The growing demand for resources, globally, has led to a significant increase in the intensity of anthropogenic pressures on our environment, with subsequent escalation in the loss and widespread fragmentation of natural habitats within human-dominated landscapes. A wide array of species, such as the Asian elephant Elephas maximus, thus need to adapt to these novel ecologies in order to ensure their long-term survival and reproductive success. An assumption often made in such contexts is that the affected species then restrict their presence in these modified landscapes and use them only as movement pathways or as temporary refuge. A few recent observations, however, indicate that, in the case of generalist species such as elephants, which are highly adaptable, this could not be further from the truth. It has, therefore, become imperative that we examine the now-difficult lives of many of these populations and individuals, with which we share our homes, and reflect on the uncertainty they face in the Anthropocene, futures that seem to be precarious at best. This thesis has thus attempted to explore the complex lives of an elephant population in a human-modified landscape in the Anaimalai hills of southern India. Following an investigation into the landscape-level distribution, demographic structure and fine-scale movement patterns of the population within a matrix of anthropogenic and relatively undisturbed habitat patches, it examines the social behaviour and stress physiology of certain groups, with a particular focus on certain novel life-history strategies observed in individual female elephants. Such multidisciplinary approaches are vital for us to understand the decisions made by threatened elephant populations and individuals in today’s rapidly changing ecological regimes, particularly to aid in their conservation and the management of their interactions with local human communities.


All are invited to attend

Friday, June 19, 2020