Research reveals that elephants are evolving to not grow tusks after years of being h.un.ted and kill.ed by poachers.
Nearly 90% of African elephants in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park were s.laughtered for their tusks to fuel the country’s civil war.
But about a third of females – the generation born after the war ended in 1992 – do not develop tusks, recent figures suggest.
The male tusks were larger and heavier, but due to increased p.o.ac.hing, hunters began to focus on the females.
Joyce Poole, scientific director of a nonprofit called ElephantVoices, said: ‘Over time, with the population getting older, you start to get a really higher percentage of females without tusks. than.’
Other countries have also seen a shift in the number of elephants growing tusks.
In South Africa, 98% of the 174 females in Addo Elephant National Park were reported to have no tusks in the early 2000s.
P.oa.ching has also caused tusks to decrease in size in some heavily hunted areas, such as southern Kenya.
Scientists say that elephants with this defect may be changing their behavior.
Ivories are used to dig up water or get tree barks for food, so mammals can travel farther in search of survival.
But the researchers say changes in elephants’ way of life could have bigger impacts on the ecosystems around them.
Ryan Long, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Idaho, told National Geographic: ‘Any or all of these changes in behavior could result in changes to the worldwide distribution of elephants across the landscape, and those are broad-scale changes that are most likely to have consequences for the rest of the ecosystem.’
The number of tuskless elephants has indicated the long-term impact humans have had on the animals.