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First guidelines and suggested best protocol for surveying African elephants (Loxodonta africana) using a drone

First guidelines and suggested best protocol for surveying African elephants (Loxodonta africana) using a drone

By Wesley L. Hartmann, Vicki Fishlock, Alison Leslie Abstract Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, are increasingly used in ecological management, conservation and research. Numerous reviews on drones tout almost unlimited potential within the wildlife sciences as they open up inaccessible habitats to observation. However, the influence of drones on the animals themselves is far less understood, and impact studies to construct protocols for best practices are urgently needed to minimise the potential for stress on target species. The impact of a quadcopter drone’s approach...

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Elephants evolved strategies reducing the biomechanical complexity of their trunk

Elephants evolved strategies reducing the biomechanical complexity of their trunk

By Paule Dagenais, Sean Hensman, Valérie Haechler & Michel C. Milinkovitch - Current Biology Highlights -- Elephants evolved strategies reducing the biomechanical complexity of their trunk -- Object transport is achieved by propagating inward curvature from the trunk tip -- The trunk can form rigid segments connected by pseudo-joints for point-to-point motion -- The trunk tip tangential velocity obeys a power law with its path curvature Summary The elephant proboscis (trunk), which functions as a muscular hydrostat with a virtually infinite number of degrees of freedom, is a spectacular...

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African forest elephant movements depend on time scale and individual behavior

African forest elephant movements depend on time scale and individual behavior

By Christopher Beirne, Thomas M. Houslay, Peter Morkel, Connie J. Clark, Mike Fay, Joseph Okouyi, Lee J. T. White & John R. Poulsen - Scientific Reports Abstract The critically endangered African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) plays a vital role in maintaining the structure and composition of Afrotropical forests, but basic information is lacking regarding the drivers of elephant movement and behavior at landscape scales. We use GPS location data from 96 individuals throughout Gabon to determine how five movement behaviors vary at different scales, how they are influenced by...

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Mammal and bird species ranges overlap with armed conflicts and associated conservation threats

Mammal and bird species ranges overlap with armed conflicts and associated conservation threats

By Uttara Mendiratta, Anand M. Osuri, Sarthak J. Shetty & Abishek Harihar AbstractArmed conflicts are a pervasive global threat, but their implications for wildlife conservation remain unclear. Using a 30-year spatial dataset of armed conflicts in conjunction with species range maps, we found that conflicts during 1989–2018 occurred within at least 4291 (78%) and 9056 (85%) terrestrial mammal and bird species ranges, respectively. For 4% overall and 5–7% of threatened species, conflicts within ranges have been both widespread (≥50% of range) and frequent (≥15 years). Further, an...

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