4.5 million-year-old cranium of the fossil elephant Loxodonta adaurora, from Ileret, Kenya, in right lateral and front views.
Figure courtesy of Carol Abraczinskas, University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology
The anatomy of the teeth in the cranium and its bones show that it belongs to an extinct cousin of the living African savanna and forest elephants.
New fossil evidence reveals more about how African bush elephants’ ancient ancestors moved about a South African landscape.
There are no body fossils of elephants from this time period, so the available information of how these gigantic animals moved through the ancient landscapes depends entirely on the track record.
Is Botswana allowing the hunting of elephants a good or a bad thing? Two academics weigh in.
An African forest elephant (
Loxodonta cyclotis) in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of the Congo.
Nicolas Deloche/Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
A new review of the status of African elephants finds scientific grounds for dividing them into two species, and reports that both have suffered drastic population declines since 1990.
Poaching of African elephants has fallen, but the species is still at risk. Law enforcement and ivory bans help, but tackling poverty is key to stopping poaching at the source.
According to the latest data, there are probably fewer than 400,000 savannah elephants left in the wild across Africa.
Drone technology plays a vital role in gathering accurate wildlife data. But this alone isn’t enough to save Africa’s elephants.
An elephant grazing in Kimana Conservancy, Kenya.
As the Maasai people of Kenya seek to expand their agricultural developments, the lives of one of Africa’s greatest creatures are being severely disrupted.
Beehive fences can help improve human-elephant coexistence.
There is indeed merit to using beehives to keep elephants from eating and destroying crops.
CITES, calls Uganda a country of primary concern in the illicit ivory trade.
Locations like border towns as well as people acting as middlemen provide key insights into Uganda’s ivory trade.
Paleoloxodon antiquus has been extinct for 120 000 years.
By Apotea (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
DNA studies reveal that African elephants belong to a very successful and widespread family.
If we can keep elephants away from farms then farmers might be more inclined to help conservation efforts.
Chishuru, a male African elephant, indicates a target scent during trials.
Elephants have the highest count of olfactory receptor genes of any species tested to date. This suggests that they may be the best smellers in the animal kingdom.
The Southern Tanzania Elephant Program used camera traps to capture elephant visits to farmland.
Elephants feeding on crops poses a challenge to their coexistence with humans. Farmers must introduce strategies to reduce losses and avoid lethal action against the endangered species.
Elephants express many extra genes derived from the critical tumour suppressor gene TP53.
Elephants naturally avoid cancer after 55 million years of evolution. Scientists are studying if they can extract lessons that could help people.
Could this be the world’s largest Fitbit?
By understanding sleep across animals we can gain insights into improving the quality of human sleep. It can also help to bolster conservation management strategies for the animals in question.
In Cameroon efforts are underway to halt rainforest loss and develop opportunities with locals.
Arend de Haas
Combining new technologies, including Global Forest Watch, a Forest Monitoring App and Participatory 3D Modelling, brings out traditional knowledge of the elders.
China plans to ban the ivory trade. The hope is that prices will be driven downwards and elephant numbers will improve.
China has decided to end all domestic trade in ivory, an act that could help elephant numbers all over Africa.
Zimbabwe are looking to sell 35 young elephants to China in the hopes of settling an old debt.
Zimbabwe are looking to resolve a debt to China by selling animals to them. But one of the concerns is that the elephants sold will eventually be farmed and their ivory harvested.
Elephant feet have peculiar structures that can also be seen in other large-bodied animals.
Foot problems are more rife in elephants living in captivity. The hard ground they walk on often gives them foot trouble. Generally, by the time the problem is picked up, it’s too late.
The 27-year old ban on international ivory trade has clearly failed to deliver a sustained solution to the poaching crisis.
Ivory was a major talking point at the CITES CoP17 conference.Many feel the ban on trade doesn’t work while others believe the ban is the only way to save the iconic species.