Sunday, 4 August 2019

Forest elephants are allies in the fight against climate change, finds research

JULY 17, 2019

by Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, The Conversation
Forest elephant extinction would exacerbate climate change. That's according to a new study in Nature Geoscience which links feeding by elephants with an increase in the amount of carbon that forests are able to store.
The bad news is that African forest elephants—smaller and more vulnerable relatives of the better known African bush elephant—are fast going extinct. If we allow their ongoing extermination to continue, we will be also worsening climate change. The good news is that if we protect and conserve these elephants, we will simultaneously fight climate change.
Elephants are fascinating animals, and I have studied them for more than 15 years. They are intelligent, sentient, and highly social. But their single most remarkable feature is their size. Evolutionarily, elephants gambled on becoming massive enough to deter predators like lions and tigers.
In exchange, they became slaves to their appetite. Elephants need huge amounts of food everyday, something like 5-10 percent of their body mass. A typical three-tonne female could eat 200 kg of plant material in one day. Her family may need to consume more than a tonne of food per day.

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