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Home SCIENCE Elephant Evolution: Will Poaching Mean No More Tusks in Mozambique?

Elephant Evolution: Will Poaching Mean No More Tusks in Mozambique?

Washington

A strong set of tusks is often an advantage for elephants, allowing them to dig for water, remove bark for food, and compete with other elephants. But during episodes of intense ivory poaching, those large incisors become a liability.

Now, researchers have pointed to how years of civil war and poaching in Mozambique have led to a higher proportion of elephants never growing tusks.

During the conflict from 1977 to 1992, fighters on both sides slaughtered elephants for ivory to fund the war effort. In the region that is now Gorongosa National Park, around 90% of the elephants were killed.

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