Researcher Debates about African Elephants?

One thing people might not know about elephants is that even though they are very big, they might be scared of little bees. As I’m sure you know elephants sometimes will come into people’s fields and eat their crops. Scientists trying to prevent this found that in some areas, recording the sound of angry bees and playing it back will keep elephants away. More research is needed but this might be a good way to help reduce problems between people and elephants.

One thing scientists disagree on is how many kinds of elephants there are in Africa. The elephants you see in South Africa are known as savanna or bush elephants. They are common across southern and East Africa. In Central and West Africa, however, the elephants are different. They tend to be smaller with straighter tusks, smaller ears, and more toenails on their feet. These are usually called forest elephants. Scientists disagree on whether forest and elephants are just two different types of one species, called subspecies, or whether they are actually two distinct species. Some scientists even think there is a third species of elephant that lives in both forests and savannas in West Africa but there is not enough information about animals from these areas to be sure.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean when you ask what I think about elephants beginning to go endangered. Elephant numbers did decline very rapidly in the late 1900s because of poaching. I am strongly opposed to wildlife poaching and think elephants should definitely be protected from extinction. While poaching is still a serious threat in some areas, others have seen better protection leading to increases in the number of elephants. Southern Africa especially, has seen increases in elephant numbers in many areas. For example, Botswana, where I do my research, has a strong and growing elephant population. In fact, some people wonder if there are too many elephants and if they might start having negative effects on the trees and wildlife of southern Africa.

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