Natural selection and elephants
Nature is truly extraordinary. In recent surveys of elephant populations data has shown that African elephants are undergoing change that is in direct response to the heavy poaching they have endured in the last several decades. The data shows that more and more baby elephants are being born without tusks which is a remarkable natural selection process. That these amazing animals are adapting and evolving without tusks because of human persecution is both astounding and terribly sad because elephants need their tusks for tearing bark from trees defending themselves and their young from predators such as lions and males use them in battle with other males. In Mozambique during the civil war when 90% of the elephant population was decimated it has been found that 30% of the female calves born to the mothers that survived that dreadful time during the 90's are tuskless. This trend is being seen in other areas of Africa where heavy poaching has had a huge impact on elephant populations. What does being tuskless mean for elephants ? Will they be safe from poaching if they have no tusks ? and how will it impact on their diet if they no longer have tusks to forage for certain foods ? will their diet also undergo change ? so many questions but not enough answers to end the trade in ivory end the senseless slaughter and let elephants be elephants with tusks.
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