An elephant’s tale

Every year, tens of thousands of African elephants are killed to supply the Chinese and Thai ivory markets

How to navigate elephant tourism in Thailand

Elephants have long been synonymous with Thailand, yet their treatment in the name of tourism is questionable. Ethical camps are few and far between but it's here we see how good life can be for these incredible animals, if treated responsibly

Black Rhinos Confront Lions And Elephants In A Three-Way Stand-off

Who would win a fight between a pride of lions, a herd of elephants, and a pair of black rhinoceroses? The answer may surprise you. A Safari Live crew happened upon such a scene while filming in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Baby Elephant Loses Trunk

7th September, 2018 - This baby elephant is missing its trunk. It could have been attacked by a hyena or a crocodile, though elephant expert Joyce Poole believes it was caught in a snare. While Poole thinks that elephant could survive, another researcher says it’s unlikely; the animals rely on their trunks for smelling, eating, drinking, and social contact. Snaring is a major issue that threatens wildlife all over Africa.

Here's What Happens After an Elephant Dies

10th September, 2018 - This African elephant is on the verge of death. It was likely tusked in its side by another male elephant during a fight. What happens next reveals how enormously important an elephant is to its ecosystem. Elephants arrive on the scene to mourn the loss of their fellow elephant. The mourning process includes “body-mounting,” in which they climb on the carcass. They also mourn by walking backwards towards the body, often touching it with their hind foot. They will explore the body with their trunks and front feet. Whether elephants culturally transmit and learn these actions is part of an ongoing study. Hyenas arrived overnight and opened the belly of the carcass, tearing through the tough elephant hide. This gives the opportunity for white-backed vultures to feed.Vultures don’t have strong enough beaks to tear through the elephant's hide, so they have to wait in line behind the hyenas. While sad, these deaths are crucial for ecosystems. These feasts can be life saving for vultures, whose populations have plummeted worldwide as humans have changed their habitats and poisoned them. A leopard comes to investigate but decides to eat elsewhere. Elephant carcasses briefly become busy ecosystems of their own. Apart from scavenging, there’s a full community of decomposers like maggots that chow down on anything the bigger scavengers don’t get to quickly enough. A carcass site becomes soaked with blood and fluids that are released during decomposition, creating a fertile patch of ground as microbes release nutrients into the soil. Scientists use carcass counts for keeping tabs on elephant population health. So not only does this elephant's carcass provide a highly beneficial service to the surrounding ecosystem ... it may ultimately help with science and elephant conservation.

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