The car creeps towards the left as the driver tries to get as close as possible to the group of elephants foraging at the road’s edge. The elephants walk silently, communicating in companionable purrs. The loudest noise is the crackle of the tough foliage they are eating. “You’re crowding Agatha and she’s going to have to press into the bush to get by,” says Katie Gough from the back seat. Gough, based at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, has been studying these animals for four years and can tell most of the elephants apart by the wear and tear on their ears or by idiosyncratic wrinkles. She is right about Agatha, who, slowly moving her enormous body into the thorny shrubs, turns her head and gives the occupants of the car a look that everyone reads — scientific prohibitions on anthropomorphization be damned — as reproachful. Agatha’s home, Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa, has too many elephants. In 1954 there were 22 animals in a park of about 2,300 hectares. They were the remnants of a herd hunted nearly to extinction by one hired hunter in 1919. He was carrying out the orders of local orange growers who were sick of elephants gorging themselves on their crops. Today, there are around 460 animals in about 26,000 hectares — or roughly double the 1954 density. Throughout its history, densities have waxed and waned; in the main camp of Addo, they now stand at about three elephants per square kilometre. One estimate of the maximum number of elephants this area can sustainably support is about 0.5 elephants per square kilometer.