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: New Hampshire bill requires cursive, multiplication tables

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Hunger for meat pushing food security to the edge

10 hours ago

Promoting more sustainable plant-based foods and reducing demand for meat and dairy products will be essential to feed billions of people and avoid serious and ongoing global food security impacts, warn experts ...

There is really a single ideal body shape for women?

10 hours ago

Many scholars of Renaissance art tell us that Botticelli's Birth of Venus captures the tension between the celestial perfection of divine beauty and its flawed earthly manifestation. As classical ideas blossom ...

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.