Thursday, 7 February 2013

Low Rainfall and Extreme Temperatures Double Risk of Baby Elephant Deaths


Feb. 4, 2013 — Extremes of temperature and rainfall are affecting the survival of elephants working in timber camps in Myanmar and can double the risk of death in calves aged up to five, new research from the University of Sheffield has found.

With climate change models predicting higher temperatures and months without rainfall; this could decrease the populations of already endangered Asian elephants.

The researchers matched monthly climate records with data on birth and deaths, to track how climate variation affects the chances of elephant survival.

It is hoped this research -- which was published in the journal Ecology -- will make a difference by highlighting the importance of protecting vulnerable calves in captivity from the effects of climate change

Experts at the University of Sheffield accessed unique recordings of the life and deaths of more than 8,000 elephants from Myanmar spanning three generations throughout almost a century.

The elephants in the database are semi-captive animals working in the timber industry by pushing and dragging logs.

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