SOUTH AFRICA An elephant story, and that of family values gone haywire! Cow elephants in the Kruger National Park were introduced to contraceptive pills to cut down their population into small and happy families. But the outcome was a mammoth problem - elephantine free love resulted in a jumbo-sized social and sexual mayhem.

The specially designed hormone implants, it was found, left the cows constantly in heat and created a rampage among the bulls to mate. "The bulls want constantly to mate with the females," complained Douw Grobler, veterinary doctor at Kruger Park. "At one stage, there were eight bulls around one cow. This is unacceptable," he added.

The oestrogen implants which were injected into sedated females, work along the same lines as contraceptive pills in women. In the ensuing melee, families broke down and two cubs were reported missing. The park staff presumed they had strayed from the herd as their moth- ers remained permanently distracted. Grobler said the population control progzamme was being shelved and the animals were under constant watch to ensure that normalcy be restored.

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