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Africa GeographicDecoding Science

17 Elephant facts you need to know

The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the largest land mammal in the world and one of nature’s great ecosystem engineers, being a major contributor to maintaining the balance between wooded and grass ecosystems. Here are 17 fascinating facts that you need to know.

Can elephants run, or do they just walk faster?

A fascinating study has revealed that although elephants can move at considerable pace, there is a question as to whether they can run.

7 Consequences of replacing wildlife with livestock

Seven interesting findings based around the impact on ecological processes and ecosystems of the ongoing extinction of native African herbivore species and the increase in livestock populations.

Zombie ants and the dark side of the Force

Zombie ants and mind-controlling fungus reveals the darker side of the insect world.

Kalahari lions: Research sheds light on population

Research has revealed that the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) straddling South Africa and Botswana is a stronghold for African lions.

Niassa suffers forest loss, but able to support elephants and lions

Niassa National Reserve CREDIT JEAN-BAPTISTE DEFFONTAINES (1)

A recent study states that Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique still has the potential to support tens of thousands of elephants and 1,000 lions, as the vast majority of the ecosystem is intact.

Wild dogs vote with sneezes

Scientists studying wild dogs in Botswana have found members of this endangered species use sneezes to vote on when the pack will move off and start hunting.

Japan’s ivory market must close down, according to study

With China announcing that it would shut down all ivory trade by the end of this year, concerns have been raised that Japan’s failure to prevent illegal ivory exports will undermine China’s prospective ban and the efforts to end the global trafficking of elephant tusks.

Pangolin trafficking: Research reveals new routes

A recent study has revealed that pangolin smugglers are constantly opening up new global trade routes every year to avoid law enforcement agencies.

Bees protect large trees from elephant impact

A study has found that hanging beehives containing African honeybees from the branches of marula trees protects these trees against elephant impact because the elephants avoid those trees.

Decoding Kruger’s ‘Elephant Management Plan’

The Kruger National Park is vast, at about 2 million hectares, and requires a thorough management strategy in order to ensure long term sustainability. Part of that strategy, The Elephant Management Plan – compiled by Kruger management and Scientific Service – is currently in force, and covers the period 2013 to 2022.

Bamboo lemurs on the brink, driven by climate change

What do China’s giant pandas and Madagascan bamboo lemurs have in common, aside from their precarious conservation status?

Mega-carnivore dinosaur footprints discovered

Kayentapus ambrokholohali - Scott Hartman

An international team of researchers from South Africa, UK, and Brazil have discovered massive footprints belonging to a carnivorous dinosaur that roamed Southern Africa 200 million years ago.

Elephant ivory and the Japanese hanko stamp

A row of hanko stamps in Japan

Hanko stamps are the Japanese version of a signature, used throughout Japan to sign deals and important documents, and are made out of a variety of materials, including elephant ivory.

Hippo teeth: Hong Kong trade threatens species in Africa

Hong Kong has always been regarded as the epicentre of the global wildlife trade. It appears however that this trade is not adequately controlled by authorities and may lead many species to the brink of extinction. Unfortunately many news headlines

Dragon-like sungazer lizard in danger

sungazer lizard, reptile

Sungazer – it sounds like a cool name for a dragon, and even though these rare lizards look like the mighty dragons from “Game of Thrones”, the fire of their soul may be burned out permanently.

Killing crop-raiding elephants won’t solve problem, say scientists

elephant, camera trap, wildlife, conservation

One of the most pressing and challenging issues currently facing African conservation is ensuring that wildlife and humans can coexist peacefully in the same area.

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