Tag Archives | Elephants

Elephants That Witness Culling Remain Psychologically Scarred for Decades

Elephant_walking_ArMAs you’re probably aware, elephants are extremely intelligent creatures that develop deep social bonds within their herds. Researchers looking into the effects of herd culls have identified signs of PTSD among the calves who survive.

Via Discover Magazine:

Wildlife officials in South Africa have used culling to manage elephant populations since the 1960s. The environmental benefit is clear: too many of these huge, hungry animals could quickly eat, trample and uproot the vegetation in a fenced nature reserve. To prevent such habitat destruction, managers have historically rounded up the big beasts with a helicopter and had professional hunters on the ground kill some adults. The young elephants are then shipped to other parks.

Previous studies have shown that young elephants that live through such events grew up with a version of PTSD, delaying their development and making them unusually scared or aggressive. The elephants in this study had experienced even more extreme distress, however, as one of the researchers, Joyce Poole, told National Geographic,

“These calves watched as their mothers and other family members were killed and butchered.

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Shooting Elephants In the Face: Well-Done, Alot of Fun

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

Just when you thought you couldn’t hate the NRA any more comes this video from Under Wild Skies, an NRA-sponsored, so-called sports show being inexplicably aired by NBC, in which tough guy, Indiana Jones-wannabee and NRA lobbyist Tony Makris bravely goes forth into Botswana to massacre an elephant – an act about to be but not quite yet illegal – finally downing it on the third shot by shooting it in the face and then gleefully gloating, after the suffering animal charged him, that “somebody got a little cheeky there.” There are two well-deserved petitions to cancel the show.

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Researchers Discover The Four Personality Types Of Elephants

Animals have distinct personality types, the Telegraph reveals

In a new study of African elephants, researchers have identified four distinct characters that are prevalent with a herd – the leaders, the gentle giants, the playful rogues and the reliable plodders. Each of the types has developed to help the giant mammals survive in their harsh environment and are almost unique in the animal kingdom, according to the scientists.

Professor Lee and her colleague Cynthia Moss studied a herd of elephants in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya known as the EB family – famous for their matriarch Echo before she died in 2009. Using data collected over 38 years of watching this group, the researchers analysed them for 26 types of behaviour and found four personality traits tended to come to the fore.

The strongest personality to emerge was that of the leader. The researchers looked for those elephants that tended to influence the movements and direction of the group.

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Elephants Are Able To Sing Like Humans

I see a future of interspecies jazz combos.  Via the Indian Express:

Elephants “sing” like humans but at a frequency so low we can’t hear them, scientists have claimed. Researchers have found that elephants use an ultrasound rumble, often too low for humans to hear, to keep the herd together and for males to find mates. It allows the animals to communicate over distances of up to six miles.

Experts had wondered whether, like a cat’s purr, elephant infrasound was generated by muscular ‘twitching’ movements of the vocal cords.

Instead, it turns out the elephant sounds are made purely by air being blown through the larynx, or voice box, as in the case of a human singer. The German team carried out laboratory tests on a larynx removed from an African elephant that had died naturally at a Berlin zoo.

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Wild Elephants Mourn Death Of Human Savior

African_ElephantsA touching story, courtesy of The Delight Makers:

Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 7. His family tells of a solemn procession on March 10 that defies human explanation.

For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives.The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7? Known for his unique ability to calm traumatized elephants, Anthony had become a legend.

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China’s Economic Boom Fueling Poaching In Africa

ElephantGreg Neale and James Burton writes in the Guardian:

Elephant poaching in Africa and Asia is being fuelled by China’s economic boom, according to a study of the ivory trade.

Authors of the new report found that the number of ivory items on sale in key centres in southern China has more than doubled since 2004, with most traded illegally. The survey comes amid reports of a dramatic rise in rhino poaching across Africa, and a spate of thefts of rhino horns from European museums and auction houses.

Based on the results of their survey, the ivory researchers are calling for China to tighten its enforcement of ivory trading regulations, saying that such a move is vital to reduce the number of elephants that are killed illegally. The report is published on the eve of a meeting in Geneva of the Cites organisation, which is responsible for controlling trade in endangered wildlife species.

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