Published work

African elephants (Loxodonta africana) can detect TNT using olfaction: Implications for biosensor application

The impact of war on local wildlife can be devastating, the effects of which are often felt well beyond the terminus of the initial threat. In areas where wildlife experiences unrestricted movement through previously affected zones, residual, unexploded landmines present a significant and potentially lethal problem. Anecdotal reports of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), in a once war-torn Angola, avoiding minefields together with telemetry data suggest that the species may be able to detect concealed landmines using olfaction.


Dry season browsing by sable antelope in northern Botswana

Sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) are predominantly grazers and are distributed throughout southern African savannahs where the dry season is prolonged and ambient temperatures are high before the rains begin. Grass quality is especially poor on infertile, sandy soils. Sable typically depend on green grass persisting in drainage sump grasslands or in recently burned areas during the dry season. However, contrary to previous reports, we observed a substantial amount of browsing by sable in our study area during the dry season. Here, we quantify the contribution made by browse to the diet of sable in our study area.

African Journal of Ecology 50, 513-516.


Home range occupation and habitat use of sable antelope in the Okavango Delta region of northern Botswana

Animals selectively utilize their environments within a hierarchical framework. Our study addressed how the home ranges of sable antelope selectively incorporated the landscape and habitat types available to them. It was conducted in a region of northern Botswana where the sable population was expected to be thriving, in contrast to their threatened status in the wild in South Africa. The movements and habitat use of three neighbouring sable herds were recorded by global positioning system (GPS) telemetry during parts of the seasonal cycle in a region adjoining the seasonally flooded Okavango Delta. 

African Journal of Ecology 52 (2), 237-245.


Resource use and the nutritional status of sable antelope in the Okavango Delta region of northern Botswana

The resource-use patterns and nutritional status of sable antelope herds were investigated in the Okavango Delta region of northern Botswana for comparison with those documented for declining sable antelope populations elsewhere in southern Africa. GPS collars recorded the relative use of floodplain, upland and wooded grassland habitats by the sable herds while VHF beacons facilitated locating the herds for direct observations on feeding. Surprisingly, the sable herds made greatest use of upland grasslands, rather than the floodplain grasslands exposed after floodwater had receded, during the dry season months.

African Journal of Ecology 52 (3), 265-273


A privileged life - a short story

Michael Hensman's short story, "A privileged life" has been published in a book by Jean Philippe Puyravaud and Priya Davidar titiled, "Giant Hearts: Travels in the world of elephants".

The authors bring writers eminent scientists, bestselling authors, veterinary doctors, photographers and artists who are bound by a common affection for elephants and their desire to halt their extinction.

Puyravaud, J.P. & Davidar, P. (2015) Rupa Publications India, Pgs 34-36