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African Studies: Elephant data sheets

A guide to UF Libraries' research and teaching resources in African Studies. Feel free to let us know what would be useful to have included.

Park place name spellings

Lists of place names by Park (list of boxes below, in this order):

  • Murchison Falls National Park, MFNP, MFP (Uganda)
    • North Bank Victoria Nile (MFP-N)
    • South Bank Victoria Nile (MFP-S)
  • Budongo Forest (Uganda)
  • Mkomazi National Park (Tanzania)
  • Tsavo National Park (Kenya)
    • Tsavo West
    • Tsavo East

In each location work may have been performed by different groups (some are named on the data sheets) such as: Nuffield Unit of Tropical Animal Ecology.

Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda)

Word lists are not comprehensive, but intended as helpful guides to interpretation & spelling.

North Bank Victoria Nile (MFP-N)


Buligi Circuit

Goragung Rapids

Hippo Pool

Karuma Gate/Town


Kibaa River

Myamsika Cliff


Pakwach East


Tangi River


Wakwar Drive

Wankwar Gate

South Bank Victoria Nile (MFP-S)

Bugana Town

Bugungu Gate/Town/Game Reserve

Goragung Rapids

Joliya River

Karuma Falls/Game Reserve

Murchison Falls

Myora hills

Rabongo Town/Hills/Forest

Sambiya River

Waiga River

Wairingo Gate/River/Town


Budongo Forest





Kichumbanyobo Gate


Murchison Falls




Mkomazi National Park (Tanzania)

Babus camp

Dindira dam



Ngulunga dam

Njiro gate

(South) Pare Mountains

Tona Lodge

Zange Gate

Tsavo National Park (Kenya)

Tsavo West

Chaimu Crater

Chyulu Gate/Range

Finch Haltons

Jipe Gate/Lake


Maktau Gate

Mbuyuni Gate

Mzima Springs


Taita Hills

Taveta Town

Tsavo River

Tsavo East

Ashnil Aruba

Athi River

Buchuma Gate

Diandaza Town

Epiya Chapeyu

Galana River


Goshi River

Kilalinda Town

Kiloaguni Lodge

Lugard Falls

MacKinnon road

Manyani Gate

Mtito Andei Gates


Sala Gate

Tiva River

Voi River/Town

Yatta Plateau

Search feature in REDCap

1. Under “Data Collection” (left margin)

2. Go to “Add/Edit Records”

3. Underneath the top box and the “Add New Record” button is “Data Search.”

4. First it asks for you to “Choose a Field to Search.”

5. You can search for things like transcriber_name or animal_id variable, and underneath that you can then type what you are searching for in that field.

Essential links for transcribers

Transcriber notes

Important issues raised in training and competency testing.

  • Record the URL from the first image, which appears either from the page number drop down or Next button, rather than from the zoomed image. It should look like this: rather than this
  • Dates are in British format.
  • Record Elephant ID nos. without any location prefix (so, 18 rather than GMU 18). Repeated IDs can be separated out using other information.
  • Note that the researchers employed age classes rather than "age in years" for many cases. If age in years can't be determined, note the age class in the notes field (not in the blank for "age in years").
  • Record "right hind leg" weight rather than left hind leg weight if it is the only one available. If so, please add to note: "Right hind leg weight."
  • If you are transcribing a note, stick to the original units in the note field rather than converting (or show converted value in brackets).
  • Please record notes in proper field. For linear, count, and similar measurements use note field for "body, trunk, tusks, feet, toe length measurements." Similarly, record weights in note field for Weights. There is a separate field for Reproductive measures, and finally a field for "Stomach contents or any other notes" at the end of the instrument. Please use this last field for overall notes about your transcription.
  • If only one value for seminal vesicles or bulbo-urethral gland, record in first blank.
  • We aren't recording or entering "collected" information, these sections can be skipped.
  • No need to complete the final, evaluation section (incomplete, complete, verified). We reserve these for administrative purposes.

Symbols used on data sheets


The symbol indicating a male organism is Mars (♂) Mars or male.
The symbol for a female organism is Venus (♀) Venus or female
The (tusk) circumference may be indicated by a circle with a center point: Circle with center point
The lowercase Greek letter alpha (α is elongated on sheets, indicating proportionality) Proportionality symbol
Numbers in parentheses indicate an estimated value (9999)

Conversion calculators

Online unit conversion calculators are provided for your convenience, along with aids for converting fractions to decimals. Take care and follow individual calculator instruction! Also, be aware of the issue of significant figures when making unit conversions.

Please let us know if you have a favorite tool of this type that we should add.

Maximum expected measurements

The REDCap software alerts transcribers when certain variables entered are above expected values. Maximum values are based on game records and other sources (generally far above actual expectations practice). The system will allow entry after the warning.

Ward, Rowland. 1903. Records of big game; African and Asiatic sections giving the distribution, characteristics, dimentions, weights and horn and tusk measurements. 4th ed. London: Rowland Ward and Company, Limited. [Source provides a guide to expected maximum ranges for some of the Elephant Data sheet measurements.]

Ward's "book on Records of Big Game is considered the main source for information on record sizes of game animals from around the world" (see

African Elephant: selected record measurements (see pp. 454-460; units converted for data sheet project purposes).

Total length 282"

Tail length 50"

Shoulder height 126"

Height at withers 123"

Half girth 99" (calc. from full)

Tusk length (outside curve) 113"

Tusk weight 83,500 g

Circumference of forefoot 61"

Weight at birth 96,600 g (629 days gestation period)

"Jumbo" (an African Bush Elephant born in Ethiopia and sold to P.T. Barnum in 1882) weighed 6.5 tons (the UK or "long ton" is 2,240 lbs., so 14,560 lbs.) or 6,600,000 g.

Data instrument variants: Guide

Please note that the transcription project has been completed. We will upload the data files in during Summer Semester 2014.

Variations in the original data sheet instrument are indicated here. Note: each link brings up the first example in a series of data sheets with a given variation (unless noted otherwise below). A total of 8 versions of the data collection instrument are noted. However, not all differ in content (slight changes in form), and we won't transcribe each version (some represent one or a small number of cases). Note that some individual sheets do have handwritten changes. Work was performed by different groups (some of which are named on the data sheets), such as: Nuffield Unit of Tropical Animal Ecology, Wildlife Services Ltd., and Wildlife Services Uganda.

1. Elephant ID no. 1 (Box 1 MFP-N, ID no. 1 is a unique handwritten case with no form.

2. Elephant ID nos. 2-17 (Box 1 MFP-N, ID nos 2-17. Instrument is up to 2 pages: these are a) recto; see online page nos. 2, 4, 6-10). Also note two cases in Variant 2 with a second b) verso scan (see online pages nos. 3, 5).

3. Elephant ID nos. 18-628 (Box 1 MFP-N, ID no. 18 through folder 6: MFP-S 558-700, ID no. 628, see thumbnail page 73).

4. Elephant ID nos. 629-1140 (Box 1 MFP-N, ID no. 629 through Box 2 Murchison Falls National Park, folder 2: MFP 1137-1300 (ID no. 1139). Variant numbers 4 & 5 differ only in format, not content.

5. Elephant ID nos. 1141-2000 (Box 2 MFNP). Variant numbers 4 & 5 differ only in format, not content.

6. Elephant ID nos. FD 1 - FD 269 (Budongo Forest).

7. Elephant ID nos. 1-300A (Tsavo).

8. Elephant ID nos. MK 1 - MK 606 (Mkomasi).

Ian Parker biographical sketch

Ian Parker was born in 1936 in Malawi (then Nyasaland). He moved to Kenya with his family during the Second World War. Parker attended Cheltenham College (England), returning to Kenya in 1953. He worked as a laborer on a dairy farm, enlisted with the Kenya Regiment, and subsequently held several colonial administrative positions in rural Kenya.

In 1956 Parker became a Game Warden with the Game Department in Kenya. Early in his career, Parker explains, he “broke ranks and advocated allowing Africans to hunt rather than treating them as poachers.” This approach led to the creation of the Galana Game Management Scheme in 1960, arguably the earliest and largest community conservation project in Africa.

Parker resigned from the Game Department in 1964 and started Wildlife Services, Ltd. with his partners. Theirs was the first wildlife research and management consultancy in East Africa. Parker had frequent contact with East African government conservation departments through his role in the company. While working in many areas relating to wildlife, Wildlife Services became best known internationally for undertaking a series of large scale elephant culling operations from 1965 to 1969 in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. This was the first time such work was attempted. The data collected were used to produce many scientific publications.

After closing Wildlife Services, Ltd. in 1976, Parker continued his work as an independent consultant and advocate of wildlife product monetization practices that support conservation and economically benefit African communities. He represented several ivory trader associations’ proposals regarding the international trade to the third and fourth Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) biennial conferences. With over 50 years working in wildlife conservation, management, and development, Ian Parker retired in 2011, moving from Nairobi to Australia with his wife.

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