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WCS scientists have recently completed an analysis of the impacts of oil and gas exploration and seismic surveys on elephants in the Murchison Falls National Park which shows that elephants are reacting negatively to the oil developments.  Elephants were shown to move away from well pad sites while under construction and when they were being drilled as much as 5 kilometres away from the pad. Elephant movement behaviour changed in the vicinity of well pads or seismic activity including moving shorter distances in a day except when traversing areas where oil activities were taking place. Ranges of elephants changed in relation to the seismic exploration and well pad developments and could be predicted 60% of the time by oil activities and only 30% of the time by factors that might normally predict ranging such as habitat and distance to water. However, there was individual variation and one elephant appeared to habituate to the oil exploration and did not react as much as the others. Suggestions are made in a report on how oil development in the park could be designed to minimise impacts on elephants.
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