Wednesday, March 16

Tuskless!

The BBC reports that elephants are increasingly losing their tusks as a rapid evolutionary response to escape slaughter by ruthless and resourceful poachers who kill elephants for their ivory. Researchers Mark and Delia Owens -- who must have the world's greatest jobs! --recorded an unusual number of such elephants in 1997 while carrying out research in Zambia's North Luangwa National Park. In a very interesting essay, they write:
Our research indicates that more than 38% of Luangwa elephants carry no tusks. Other researchers have reported that in natural, unstressed populations, only 2% of the animals are tuskless.
Zambia wants to change the protective status of its elephant population. The reult will, no doubt, be widespread slaughter or man-made evolutionary resposes to the inevitable poaching. If you want to discourage Zambia from changing the status of elephants, visit the Humane Society's online petition to save the elephants.

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