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Pongola Elephants Research
Space for Elephants Foundation

The Institute for Systems Science at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has developed a dynamic systems simulation approach to studying a number of research questions in the fields of ecology, biology, engineering and science. The Centre has recently worked on a number of diverse subjects such as:

  • elephant populations dynamics
  • harbour operation dynamics
  • physical systems dynamics
  • mechanical engineering dynamics
  • DNA sequencing

The Centre has developed expertise in a dynamical systems approach to research and we have also built up a sophisticated base of computer hardware and software.

Prof Kevin Duffy
Tel: +27 31 373 6733
Cell: 083 232 5246

Get Involved

Would you like to be involved in our research. We are developing specialist tours where people can learn more about our research. If you are already coming to South Africa let us know if you are interested.

The costs of the program will be high but the money will be used for further research. Anything from a morning introduction to a five-day specialist course will be possible.

Any interested people please e-mail Prof. Kevin Duffy at for more information.

Pongola Elephants Research

In 1894, the strip of land between KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland was proclaimed a protected nature reserve: Pongola.

This makes it the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. Unfortunately, it was later de-proclaimed but in 1993 the separate farms covering a large portion of the original area agreed to common management as a combined biosphere. Today this area is called the Pongola Game Reserve and encompasses land from Kwazulu-Natal Nature Conservation Services and private landowners.

One objective of the Pongola Game Reserve is game reintroduction to establish and maintain viable populations of animal species which historically occurred in the area. Many animals were killed in earlier days because people believed game carried Nagana and Tsetse fly disease.

The Institute for Systems Research is helping Pongola management by providing data on the effects of reintroduced game. We have collected:

  • 3 years of data of daily elephant positions.
  • Surveys of spatial position of most mammals.
  • Data of elephant impact on trees.
  • We have created a number of simulations and use these to predict the impacts of the game on the reserve.

Space for Elephants Foundation