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SANParks Elephants

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Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:09 pm Unread post
This will be the topic where we can post photos and discuss elephants that does not qualify to become tuskers in their life time, as well as any other interesting encounters etc. with elephants.

Enjoy this "Chit Chat" elephant topic :thumbs_up: .
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Elephant aggression

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Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:10 pm Unread post
I was just reading a thread where the Magnificent Seven were mentioned which reminded me of something that I have wondered about.
When bwana and I were at Letaba in October we had the pleasure of visiting the Tuskers Museum.
There was one elephant skull on display which had another elephants tusk through it's skull! :shock:
I was quite disturbed to read the adjoining information board where it stated that the elephant had been 'murdered' by another elephant.
The elephant that had been killed was an old bull.
I can't remember whether he was killed due to a territorial dispute with the younger bull or whether the younger bull attacked the older bull for no reason but either way the aggression displayed was quite frightening.
The attack was witnessed by a park ranger who described it as quite shocking.
The younger bull attacked the older bull by sticking his tusk through the older bull's skull.
When the older bull eventually died due to his injuries, the younger bull kept coming back and attacking the dead bull, kicking it, hitting it with his tusks and urinating on the corpse.
This carried on for hours and hours.
It is said that such aggressive elephant behaviour has never been witnessed before.
This behaviour was quite disturbing to read about as all the documentaries etc. that I have seen have showed elephants to be very loving towards one another and have a very strong family unit.
If they come across the bones of another elephant you can almost see them 'mourning' the loss of one of their kind.
Just thought I'd share the story and see what other people thought of the story...


Re: Elephant aggression

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Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:25 pm Unread post
Twiga wrote
When bwana and I were at Letaba in October we had the pleasure of visiting the Tuskers Museum. There was one elephant skull on display which had another elephants tusk through it's skull! :shock: I was quite disturbed to read the adjoining information board where it stated that the elephant had been 'murdered' by another elephant.


I don't know the details but I think this may have been Tshokwane? I believe he was killed at Orpen waterhole by another tusker in front of a crowd of tourists



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Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:34 pm Unread post
I'm not sure what his name was, it could be Tshokwane,Tabs, I will have to dig out our videos and have a look. Imagine the power of that animal. Kind of makes the secureness we feel inside a car kind of feeble!!!

regards
bwana



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Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:38 pm Unread post
It was not Tshokwane.

A ranger was present and described the impact of the tusk penetrating and breaking as a gun shot at close quarters.

here is a pic of it.
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Elephants

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Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:05 am Unread post
I have heard this many times on the forum and would actually like to correct it.

The noise you think to hear as an ele's tummy rumbling is in actual fact a low frequency noise made by them to keep in touch with their compatriots. I can be heard by them for a very long distance and some (most) noise they make is actually to low for us humans to hear.

It is not their tummies rumbling.
If anyone disagrees, please feel free to raise your opinion.


Last edited by wildtuinman on Fri May 06, 2005 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:15 am Unread post
I agree it is a communication sound.
I have heard that it signal's contentment amongst the herd, and that seems the case when observing them. However we human's cannot presume to understand all animal behaviour.



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Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:51 am Unread post
Is this a big tusker?

Image

Seen on H10, Dec02


Elephants

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Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:08 am Unread post
A little news bit I happened to bump into:

Genetic changes to survive poaching?

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EVOLUTION is helping the elephant to fight back against poachers.
More male elephants are now being born without tusks because hunting of the animals for their ivory is reducing the gene pool, a study in China shows.
The tusk-free gene, which is found in between 2 and 5 per cent of male Asian elephants, has increased to between 5 and 10 per cent in elephants in China, according to the study by Zhang Li, an associate professor of zoology at Beijing Normal University.



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Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:15 am Unread post
I am sure the clever people know more about this than I do but I would have thought that tusk free animals were also a response to living in captivity and being hunted and poached for the last 250 years or so. Could this adaption not be a part of self preservation?



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Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:23 pm Unread post
This has been noticed in the jungles of India too. It classic natural selection at work: Males carrying genes that cause large tusks are shot before they can pass on this gene to too many offspring. Males carrying the gene that prevents large tusk growth live long, passing this gene on to many offspring.



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Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:17 pm Unread post
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The flip side of the coin is that for these elephants to have grown to such proportions they would have had to live to a ripe old age - ensuring enough reproduction in this time to have passed on their impressive genetics.

Poachers, once they've killed the old bulls, get more greedy and shoot even young elephants with smaller tusks.

Quote
even the size of the elephants has decreased in certain areas.

This is also a classic evolutionary response to predation. The net result is that more elephants are small and tuskless today than a couple of hundred yrs ago. This makes them less attractive to hunters, so it actually helps the populations recover.



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Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:47 pm Unread post
Fossil evidence suggests that exactly the same thing happened with mammoths in N America 10K yrs ago, when people first started hunting them.



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Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:24 pm Unread post
Bert, you are 100% on the mark. Also, evolution is an adaptation to environmental pressures. What is happening here is that there is a reduction in genetic diversity. The genes for big tuskers are being removed from populations. This is not evolution at all.



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Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:24 am Unread post
bert wrote
I believe this item is a bit coloured. It is true that due to the wheels of evolution things change. But the hunting with rifles is a new process in the life of elephant. The big kill on ellie is a few hunderd years old. As they can get up to 60 yrs it means that we are talking 6-10 generations. In evolutiontime spoken this is a very little drop in a big ocean.

You're right, this is a very little drop. However, even this has a small effect on the 6-10 generations that have been born since, and that can be measured. It will take a much, much longer time for a significant proportion (say >50%) of the population to become tuskess.
bert wrote
If the tusks get smaller is has to do with less animals(due to hunting) and therefore the need to defend and fight amongst each other is less demanding. But i think it has more to do with the disappearing of habitat. Less food. Take the Ethosha ellies for eg. Small tusks due to the lack of high nutricious food.

Yes, there are definitely other factors as well which may contribute to smaller tusks, we can never be entirely sure of the complete story.
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