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Experimental evidence that effects of megaherbivores on mesoherbivore space use are influenced by species’ traits

Experimental evidence that effects of megaherbivores on mesoherbivore space use are influenced by species’ traits

By Harry B. M. Wells, Ramiro D. Crego & Øystein H. Opedal, et al. - Journal of Animal Ecology Abstract 1. The extinction of 80% of megaherbivore (>1,000 kg) species towards the end of the Pleistocene altered vegetation structure, fire dynamics and nutrient cycling world-wide. Ecologists have proposed (re)introducing megaherbivores or their ecological analogues to restore lost ecosystem functions and reinforce extant but declining megaherbivore populations. However, the effects of megaherbivores on smaller herbivores are poorly understood. 2. We used long-term exclusion experiments and...

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Elephants benefit from having older siblings, especially sisters

Elephants benefit from having older siblings, especially sisters

By British Ecological Society / Phys.Org A study of semi-captive Asian elephants in Myanmar has found that calves benefit from having older sisters more than older brothers. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Animal Ecology. Researchers at universities in Finland, the UK and Myanmar have found that Asian elephant siblings influence younger offspring from early through to late-life. Being raised with older siblings strongly increased calves' long-term survival compared to not having a sibling, with elder sisters having a bigger impact than elder...

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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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