Study: Elephants might seek revenge

Feb 16, 2006
An Elephant Tail: New Method Tracks Endangered Critters
Image: African elephants in Kenya's Samburu National Reserve. Note the adult elephant's tail hair. University of Utah geochemist Thure Cerling analyzed chemical isotopes in elephant tail hair to help track the diet and movements of the giant creatures, which have international status as endangered animals. (by George Wittemyer)

An increasing number of incidents involving African elephants attacking humans is leading some scientists to believe the animals may be seeking revenge.

Although elephant attacks have long been occurring, such attacks were believed the result of the animals being territorial of competing for food, Sky News reported Thursday. But that rationale is being questioned since the elephant population has never been lower in many areas and food has never been so abundant.

Amid frequent reports of herds of elephants destroying African villages without apparent cause, some scientists are speculating elephants might be attacking humans in revenge for years of abuse, giving new meaning to the saying "elephants never forget," New Scientist magazine reported.

Joyce Poole, from the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya, told New Scientist: "They are certainly intelligent enough and have good enough memories to take revenge. Wildlife managers may feel that it is easier to just shoot so-called 'problem' elephants than face people's wrath.

"So an elephant is shot without (hunters) realizing the possible consequences on the remaining family members and the very real possibility of stimulating a cycle of violence."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Dinosaur footprints set for public display in Utah

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New type of solar concentrator desn't block the view

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through ...

Cities, states face off on municipal broadband

8 hours ago

Wilson, N.C., determined nearly a decade ago that high-speed Internet access would be essential to the community's social and economic health in the 21st century, just as electricity, water and sewers were in the previous ...

Recommended for you

Dinosaur footprints set for public display in Utah

8 hours ago

A dry wash full of 112-million-year-old dinosaur tracks that include an ankylosaurus, dromaeosaurus and a menacing ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus rex, is set to open to the public this fall in Utah.

Fossil arthropod went on the hunt for its prey

18 hours ago

A new species of carnivorous crustacean has been identified, which roamed the seas 435 million years ago, grasping its prey with spiny limbs before devouring it. The fossil is described and details of its lifestyle are published ...

User comments : 0