Poaching pressure leaves elephants tuskless and the trend is accelerating,
Researchers say the constant targeting of elephants with the best ivory has altered the gene pool.
In some African areas as many as 98 per cent of female elephants now have no tusks.
That compares with two to six per cent – on average – in the past.
Poaching Pressure Leaves Elephants Tuskless
The slaughtering of elephants for their tusks has been savage.
In the past 10 years almost one-third of Africa’s elephants have been slaughtered by poachers for their ivory.
Ivory is in great demand in Asia, primarily in China.
But of late the demand has lessened after a ban on ivory sales became official government policy.
And although elephant conservation is meeting with some success there is a new threat looking – demand for elephant parts.
But is everything too little, too late?
Between 2007 and 2014 about 144,000 elephants were killed in Africa.
Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park once was an elephant’s delight.
But now no more.
Poaching and a civil war had a devastating impact on its impact.
Here is how National Geographic described the impact.
“Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park bear the indelible markings of the civil war that gripped the country for 15 years: Many (elephants) are tuskless.
“They’re the lone survivors of a conflict that killed about 90 per cent of these beleaguered animals, slaughtered for ivory to finance weapons and for meat to feed the fighters.
“Hunting gave elephants that didn’t grow tusks a biological advantage in Gorongosa.
“Recent figures suggest that about a third of younger females—the generation born after the war ended in 1992—never developed tusks. Normally, tusklessness would occur only in about two to four cent of female African elephants.”
And the fear among elephant experts is that eventually all of Africa’s elephants could become tuskless, like their Asian counterparts.
And that has scientists concerned.
At this point no one knows what the impact of elephants being tuskless would be.
But studies are underway to find out what it may be.