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Monday, November 29, 2021

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    Elephants are born without ivory to survive poaching

    Since the civil war struck the Mozambique, the poaching has grown in importance in some regions. THE‘ivory continues to sell for gold in Africa. This alarming situation represents a threat to this rare species. Recently, a new study found that the pressure from this scourge has resulted in theabsence of defenses at the female elephants.

    Herd of elephants without tusks

    After decades of poaching, the number ofelephants defenseless in the national park of Gorongosa has multiplied. Note that the absence of tusks is a priori a rare genetic trait in female elephants. However, this unusual fact has become more common in a context where the poaching rate skyrockets.

    From researchers from different departments published a report in the revue Science Friday. According to the document, poaching would have favored the transmission of genes responsible for this trait in these large ruminants. We would therefore be witnessing a form of evolutionary survival mechanism.

    Helpless elephants are much more likely to survive

    In Mozambique, the civil war from 1977 to 1992 killed about 90% of the female elephant population, note the diary Science. It should be noted that the armies of the two clans targeted the animals for their ivory.

    However, the absence of tusks was previously considered a rare genetic trait in female African elephants. Because of this peculiarity, they are less of interest to poachers. Also, these types of elephants often live longer. They can thus transmit the defenseless gene their offspring.

    Using mathematical models, the scientists concluded that the natural selection would have favoredincrease in elephant numbers females without ivory. Paradoxically, they also discovered that these individuals had five times more likely to survive than their counterparts equipped with tusks. Note that this finding was estimated over a period of 28 years.

    This absence of ivory can impact ecosystems

    Although the absence of tusks has advantages for female elephants, it can nevertheless negatively impact biodiversity. According to report, those defenses have multiple purposes, such as extracting food or minerals from the subsoil. Elephants also use it to dig and peel bark, fell trees, and create habitat for other species.

    Today, it turns out that females devoid of ivory mainly eat herbs. On the other hand, the elephants with their tusks eat more vegetables and woody plants. The researchers believe that this change will create a certain ecological imbalance.

    “An increase in the absence of defenses at the population level can have downstream impacts. “



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