African Elephants Are Evolving To Not Have Tusks Because Of Ivory Poachers
There are many examples of animals physically adapting to their environments in order to avoid danger and to escape predators. Several species, the typically brownish gray arctic foxes, for instance, will turn white in winter to match the surrounding snow.
In a more recent and perhaps more surprising development, it seems that African elephants have begun to adapt to being hunted by ivory poachers.
According to National Geographic, about a third of the female elephants from Mozambique born after 1992 no longer develop the precious huge tusks. After having become an endangered species due to their tusks, these animals are gradually adapting to not growing tusks in order for them to remain safe from attack and danger.
While arctic foxes and other masters of disguise in the animal kingdom, like polar bears, are mainly blending into their surroundings to escape natural predators, the African elephants are also hunted by human beings. Poachers, over the years, have been traumatizing these wild animals with their relentless hunt after ivory. Now, it looks like they are forcing the elephants to adapt to these harsh unpredictable conditions.
Unfortunately, even though China imposed a ban on ivory trading and selling in 2017, ivory is still highly sought after in the nation.
In fact, the ivory market has grown to shocking levels with many demanding the product for aesthetic reasons while others seek it for its alleged healing propensities. It is believed in the Chinese culture that ivory, ground and consumed, can cure multiple diseases alongside improving fertility, virility, and strength, even where there seems to be no real scientific basis for these claims.
Since poachers are skilled in tracking down elephants and ambushing them unexpectedly, most elephants die in the hands of these heartless hunters.
Evolution, however, now seems to be taking the elephant’s side. Every year, more and more elephant off-springs in Mozambique are being born into the world without tusks. Without tusks, no one will bother them. Smart move!
This new development in Mozambique might just solve the poaching menace once science gets a grip on the genetic composition of this new breed of elephants. Until relatively recently, Mozambique had only recorded a few cases of young elephants being born without tusks. However, the numbers by now have shot up to a remarkable one-third of the total female elephant population.
These findings could be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Containing poaching would mean that the world is on the right track in its mission to preserve wildlife.
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Don’t these findings just make you a little more hopeful? Do you think the authorities should take further measures in protecting this new breed? We would like to hear your views on the topic. Let us know and don't forget to spread awareness by showing this video to your friends!