Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Intellectual Solution that Benefits all Parties: Elephant Tail Reveals Diet Clues

Now see, this is what I see as progressive and correct thinking. This is what humans are capable of. Quite simply, we have the potential to really solve tough problems. Instead of defaulting to the negative and just simply killing away a problem, humans really can come to a more intellectual solution that benefits all parties. This article really points this out.

Just look at this one quote. Now this is the way to approach difficult problems. "Tracking an elephant's diet through stable isotopes defines essential
elephant dietary needs and can help inform land use planning," he
added.



Read on....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4567534.stm



Elephant tail reveals diet clues
Chemical analysis of elephant hair can provide clues about the animal's
diet and behaviour, say scientists.
Researchers studied wild elephants in Kenya's Samburu National Reserve
by
tracking the animals with GPS devices and analysing their tail hair.

One elephant had turned to eating crops, a major source of conflict
between humans and elephants.

The study is published online in the journal Proceedings of the
National
Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

It is aimed at helping conservationists decide where to site
sanctuaries.

Conflict between humans and elephants becomes inevitable, as the human
population rises.

As elephants are squeezed out of their natural habitat by human
settlements, they fall short of food and may take to raiding crops to
supplement their diets. In rare cases, they may kill, or are themselves
shot in retaliation.


One big question is how can we secure a future for elephants when we
know
that the areas set aside for their protection are too small
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Save the Elephants Foundation
To find out more about elephants' movement patterns, scientists led by
Thure Cerling of the University of Utah, US, fitted radio collars to
wild
elephants.

They analysed their roaming habits over the course of two years and
collected samples of tail hair.

By studying the ratios of naturally-occurring carbon and nitrogen
isotopes, they were able to deduce the diet of seven of the elephants.

All but one had a similar diet. The seventh, a bull elephant named
Lewis,
showed a higher intake of grasses, suggesting it had raided nearby crop
fields.

The elephant appears to have eaten lowland grasses in a sanctuary
during
rainy times, then moved up into the mountains, where it dined on shrubs
and trees by day, and cornfields by night.

The elephant was shot after the study was completed, possibly by a
farmer,
says the international team, from the US, UK and Africa.

"One big question is how can we secure a future for elephants when we
know
that the areas set aside for their protection are too small," said
study
co-author and zoologist Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of the Save the
Elephants Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya.

"Tracking an elephant's diet through stable isotopes defines essential
elephant dietary needs and can help inform land use planning," he
added.

"The fine information from the isotopes and actual elephant tracking
can
help us define the critical minimum space needed by elephants and other
animals."




Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/4567534.stm

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