Researchers decode how elephants form “sentences,” lending insight to their complex communication

African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the world’s largest living land-based animals, reaching a height between 10 and 13 feet (roughly 3 to 4 meters) and weighing between 4 to 7 tons. One in particular, Doma, is the most dominant male in his group. Yet he seems to have developed this superiority as much through charisma and kindness as from sheer girth....

Originally posted on salon.com

African elephants are being crushed by climate change, causing ripple effects through their herds

The community of elephants that call Africa’s Greater Virunga Landscape (GVL) home once thrived there. During multiple surveys of in the 1960s and 1970s, scientists found that specific locations within the GVL, like the Queen Elizabeth Protected Area and Virguna National Park, had anywhere from 1,300 to 4,000 individuals.

But starting in the 1990s, the elephants’ numbers began to precipitously drop thanks to human activity like land use, political conflict and poaching....

Originally posted on salon.com

“Secrets of the Elephants” reveals their uncanny ability to grieve and empathize

Tolstoy used to be a formidable elephant: Massive in size, revered by the young bulls, and with tusks so long they touched the ground. When he was alive, Tolstoy had been more than just some random animal. He was a beloved member of a close-knit community filled with colorful personalities.

That is why when he died – the victim of a spear wound inflicted while he had been innocently searching for food — other elephants visited his body to pay their respects. ...

Originally posted on salon.com