Fewer elephants with tusks born in China

Jul 18, 2005

More of China's male elephants reportedly are being born without tusks because hunting of the animals for their ivory is affecting the gene pool.

A study by Beijing Normal University indicates the tusk-free gene that's usually found in 2 percent to 5 percent of male Asian elephants is now found in 5 percent to 10 percent of the elephants in China, according to Zhang Li, an associate professor of zoology.

"This decrease in the number of elephants born with tusks shows the poaching pressure for ivory on the animal," Zhang told the Times of London. Zhang says he's been conducting research since 1999 at a nature reserve in the southwestern Xishuangbanna region, where two thirds of China's Asian elephants live.

Unlike African elephants, only male Asian elephants have tusks and the larger the tusks the male elephant has, the more likely it will be shot by poachers, Zhang told the Times. "Therefore, the ones without tusks survive, preserving the tuskless gene in the species."

China is one of 160 nations that signed a treaty in 1989 banning trading in ivory and the products of other endangered animals.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Honesty can keep companies' stock prices up during hard times

Related Stories

Elephants make mischief in Thai national park

Jan 13, 2015

Whether stressed out, frisky or just craving a snack, wild bull elephants have been causing havoc in a Thai national park—shocking visitors by stomping on cars and raiding restaurants.

Woolly mammoth skeleton sold at UK auction

Nov 26, 2014

The skeleton of an Ice Age woolly mammoth fetched £189,000 ($300,000, 239.000 euros) at auction Wednesday as it went under the hammer in Britain with a host of other rare or extinct species.

Recommended for you

Social media & archaeology—a match not made in heaven

1 hour ago

Archaeologists are avid users of social media, as well as online crowd-based funding and content-sourcing tools—deploying them to save sites, sustain the historic environment and protect history, often ...

Sharing corporate R&D on the internet

2 hours ago

How much research and development information do Fortune Global 500 companies give away on their websites? That was the question a team from the University of Tunisia hoped to answer in assessing the openness of the commercial ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.