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Save Africa’s forest elephants if you want the Congo rainforest to continue capturing carbon: Study

Save Africa’s forest elephants if you want the Congo rainforest to continue capturing carbon: Study

By Rajat Ghai - Down to Earth World’s second-biggest rainforest could lose 6-9 % of its carbon capture ability, if the forest elephant goes extinct, says Saint Louis University research.   Africa’s iconic elephants are on the brink. But while the ‘African elephant’ usually conjures images of the species found on the savannas of the Continent (Loxodonta africana), it is its smaller cousin found in the world’s second-biggest rainforest that holds the keys to global carbon sequestration. That would go awry if the species bows out, according to new research. The African forest...

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Innovation in elephant dung analysis offers endless benefits for conservation

Innovation in elephant dung analysis offers endless benefits for conservation

By Shaun Smillie - Daily Maverick Every pile of elephant dung holds a story that tells of forgotten migrations, ancient hookups and a population’s well-being, and now scientists are unlocking these secrets thanks to a new way of collecting DNA. It used to be that when scientists needed to collect DNA from a wild elephant, it required a dart gun, lots of money and a good dollop of bravery.   Then, once those blood samples had been gathered, there were the added complications of securing proper refrigeration in which to store them and having chemicals at hand that were dangerous to handle....

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Drivers and facilitators of the illegal killing of elephants across 64 African sites

Drivers and facilitators of the illegal killing of elephants across 64 African sites

By Timothy Kuiper, Res Altwegg, Colin Beale, Thea Carroll, Holly T. Dublin, Severin Hauenstein, Mrigesh Kshatriya, Carl Schwarz, Chris R. Thouless, Andrew Royle and E.J. Milner-Gulland AbstractIvory poaching continues to threaten African elephants. We (1) used criminology theory and literature evidence to generate hypotheses about factors that may drive, facilitate or motivate poaching, (2) identified datasets representing these factors, and (3) tested those factors with strong hypotheses and sufficient data quality for empirical associations with poaching. We advance on previous analyses of...

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Seasonal range fidelity of a megaherbivore in response to environmental change

Seasonal range fidelity of a megaherbivore in response to environmental change

By Rhea Burton-Roberts, Line S. Cordes, Rob Slotow, Abi Tamim Vanak, Maria Thaker, Navashni Govender & Graeme Shannon - Scientific Reports  Abstract For large herbivores living in highly dynamic environments, maintaining range fidelity has the potential to facilitate the exploitation of predictable resources while minimising energy expenditure. We evaluate this expectation by examining how the seasonal range fidelity of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Kruger National Park, South Africa is affected by spatiotemporal variation in environmental conditions (vegetation quality,...

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