elephants

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Elephants Increasingly Born Tuskless Due to Poaching

In one area, 98% of female elephants are born without tusks

(Newser) - By 1931, all but 11 elephants living in what is now South Africa's Addo Elephant National Park had been killed, mostly for their ivory. Of the eight female elephants left, half had no tusks. Now 98% of female elephants in Addo are tuskless, the Independent reports. The normal rate... More »

The Great Elephant Census Returns Jarring News

Census finds numbers fell by a third in just 7 years

(Newser) - A century ago, there were more elephants in Africa than there were people in New York City. Now there are probably more people in Anchorage than elephants in Africa, with the pachyderm population down by a third just between 2007 and 2014, according to the biggest-ever study of elephant populations.... More »

Rock-Throwing Elephant Kills Young Zoogoer

She was hit in the head while posing for a photo

(Newser) - A 7-year-old girl is dead after an elephant threw a rock at her Tuesday at a Moroccan zoo, the Telegraph reports. The unnamed girl was posing for a photo when she was struck in the head with a large rock. She suffered severe injuries and died at the hospital. According... More »

500 Elephants Are Getting Loaded Onto Trucks Via Cranes

The goal: to get them somewhere safer

(Newser) - Half a dozen African elephants lay strewn on a riverside plain in Malawi, immobilized by darts fired from a helicopter in a massive project to move 500 elephants, by truck and crane, to a sanctuary for the threatened species. As development squeezes Africa's wildlife areas, this kind of man-made... More »

Elephant Chases Schwarzenegger's Car

And he has a typical Arnold reaction

(Newser) - What happens in Johannesburg stays in Johannesburg—unless you're Arnold Schwarzenegger and your safari vehicle gets chased by an elephant, in which case, yeah, the entire world is going to see that video. The clip, which Schwarzenegger uploaded himself to YouTube , shows exactly what transpired when the Terminator visited... More »

Poachers Use Cyanide to Kill 5 Elephants

Officials suspect team of about 5 poachers

(Newser) - Zimbabwean officials say poachers killed five elephants by poisoning them with cyanide, the AP reports. Violet Makoto, spokeswoman for Zimbabwe's forestry commission, said Monday that rangers discovered the carcasses of the elephants with their tusks removed in a western forest last week. Makoto says the poison was laced on... More »

Ringling Bros. Elephants Perform for the Very Last Time

The animals will live out their days at a conservation center in Florida

(Newser) - Elephants will perform for the last time at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Sunday, as the show closes its own chapter on a controversial practice that has entertained audiences since circuses began in America two centuries ago. Six Asian elephants will deliver their final performances in... More »

Ringling Elephants Taking an Early Retirement Package

Touring pachyderms will head to Florida in May instead of waiting for 2018

(Newser) - The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its elephant acts a year and a half early and will retire all of its touring elephants in May. The move comes amid increasing scrutiny on circus elephant acts, with local governments passing "anti-circus" and "anti-elephant" ordinances in... More »

Gabon Makes Huge Ivory Bust

Illegal haul was taken from about 20 elephants: government rep

(Newser) - Two Gabonese men—one of whom reportedly worked for the West African country's water and forest department—have been arrested for allegedly poaching, and a government rep tells Reuters that "We can confirm the seizure of around [440 pounds] of ivory, which represents about 20 elephants." That... More »

Scientists Discover Why Elephants Rarely Get Cancer

That discovery could mean big things for human cancer patients

(Newser) - Cancer is much less common in elephants than in humans, even though the big beasts' bodies have many more cells. That's a paradox known among scientists, and now researchers think they may have an explanation that might someday lead to new ways to protect people from cancer. Compared with... More »

Ingenious Method Helps Track Elephant Killers

Fake tusk is implanted with GPS device in Africa

(Newser) - A National Geographic reporter looking into the increasing slaughter of elephants in Africa struck upon a great way to track the illegal trade of their ivory tusks: Bryan Christy enlists a world-class taxidermist to create fake tusks embedded with GPS devices. Christy's team then plants them in the black... More »

One of Oldest Elephants in North America Euthanized

Iringa lived to 46

(Newser) - An animal-welfare group says one of the oldest African elephants in North America has been euthanized in California because of chronic degenerative joint and foot disease. The Performing Animal Welfare Society says the 46-year-old elephant named Iringa was euthanized Wednesday at the group's sanctuary in San Andreas. Born in... More »

US Zoos to Let Their Elephants Die Out

The animals could vanish from North America within a decade

(Newser) - Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo has kept elephants for almost a century, but the tradition has now come to an end. After a third elephant died in 2014, the zoo decided to move its two animals to a zoo in Oklahoma, where they'll have more room to roam as... More »

Ancient Animal Fat Shows Humans Butchered Game

500K-year-old tools still had residue of it

(Newser) - Archaeologists in Israel say they've discovered something along the lines of an open-air butcher shop, and the tools there prove that these ancient butchers worked on big game. That proof? The axes and scrapers used there 500,000 years ago still had residue of animal fat on them—a... More »

Ringling Bros. Is Dumping Its Iconic Elephants

America's most-famous circus says the animals will be phased out by 2018

(Newser) - A day after some critics laid into Prince William for visiting an animal sanctuary that reportedly uses elephants to entertain tourists , America's most famous circus group is expected to officially announce today it's dropping its own pachyderms. The parent company for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus... More »

Feds to Zoo: Stop Using Cattle Dogs on Elephants

Pittsburgh zoo ordered to stop stressing animals

(Newser) - Using dogs bred to herd cattle to control elephants hasn't worked out so well at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, according to federal authorities. The Department of Agriculture has ordered the zoo to stop using cattle dogs in ways that cause "behavioral stress" to its African elephants,... More »

Elephants May Know When It's Raining 150 Miles Away

GPS study suggests they head toward storms

(Newser) - Maybe the Weather Channel should start hiring elephants. A study in PLoS ONE suggests the creatures can detect rainstorms happening 150 miles away, possibly by hearing them even from that far off. Migrating elephants are known to change direction out of the blue, and researchers haven't been certain why.... More »

More Elephants Being Killed Than Born

35K killed annually since 2010; deaths driven by illegal ivory trade

(Newser) - A new study tallying the African elephant population has made a stark finding: If poaching continues at its current rate, the animal may be extinct in a century, the BBC reports. "We are shredding the fabric of elephant society and exterminating populations across the continent," says the study'... More »

Elephants Win Most Discerning Nose Award

They have twice as many olfactory genes as dogs and 5 times as many as humans

(Newser) - Dogs may hold the reputation as having the best noses among mammals, but when it comes to the number of genes associated with smell, the elephant stands alone. By a mile. New findings published in Genome Research suggest that African elephants have 2,000 active olfactory genes, the highest number... More »

Elephant Ancestor's Bones Alter Our Continent's History

Gomphotheres appear to have roamed North America as recently as 13,400 years ago

(Newser) - North America's prehistoric Clovis people were known hunters of large mammoths and mastodons. But another elephant ancestor, the smaller gomphothere, may also have fallen prey to the ambitious hunter-gatherers. An archaeological dig begun in 2007 in northwestern Mexico now carbon dates that site—which has given up Clovis spear... More »

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