A baby elephant is trapped in a ditch in Kerala, India until a group of people rescue it with an earth mover. Watch the magical moment when, after the baby elephant makes its way back to its family, who is waiting for it by a river, one of the adult elephants (its mother or father?) turns to the humans and twice gives them a thankful salute. Read the rest
The power of simple animation can be overwhelming. This film, I Will Always Remember You by Hugo Guinness, done for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, is shattering.
The technique used by artist Hugo Guinness appears to be a tribute to Windsor McKay’s Gertie the Dinosaur, the first animated character (in 1914) generally credited as having a personality. It is used here not for whimsy, but artfully to devastating effect. So many emotions conveyed by so few lines.
Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective.
For a mere $50, you can foster a young elephant.
From The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust:
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Every orphan of poaching once had a family. As Hugo Guinness’ moving animation shows, at our Nursery, we offer hope, a future and a second chance at life to victims of the ivory trade. This is their story.
#RememberMe - Please share this film far and wide! Survivors, like the orphan elephant in the film, have the opportunity to not only live, but to go on and start their own families back in the wild.
Want to be a part of their future? Foster an orphaned baby elephant in our care.
Our biggest thanks to acclaimed artist Hugo Guinness, Allegra Pilkington and Luisa Crosbie for creating such a powerful animation, with original music by Joe Trapanese and support from J. Crew.
There may be as few as 2400 Sumatran elephants still alive on the planet. One of their tame brethren, who worked with humans to protect wild ones from being killed, was killed on Friday--apparently for his tusks. Indonesian authorities today described the incident as a “murder and a theft,” and called for a criminal investigation. Read the rest
National Geographic reporter Bryan Christy commissioned two fake elephant tusks embedded with GPS, then planted them to track ivory smuggling routes from the Central African Republic into Sudan. Read the rest
Photograph via National Geographic, by Graeme Shannon
A recent study investigated the impact of culling and relocation on elephant decision-making and cognition decades later. African elephants are highly intelligent and social creatures, and rely on their sophisticated communication skills to survive in the wild. How does the trauma of being separated from "loved ones" and their native terrain change how orphaned elephants think, and cope?
From a recent National Geographic article by Christy Ullrich Barcus:
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And if you don't know, now you know. Read the rest
Gopal Sharma: "Soldiers in Nepal are on the hunt for a wild elephant after it strayed into villages
in the southern part of the Himalayan nation and killed four people in three months, officials said on Monday." [Telegraph] Read the rest
Imagine an apatosaurus with a long, elephant-like snout. Plenty of people have. That's because the nostril placement on sauropod dinosaurs is, in some ways, remarkably similar to that of trunked animals that live today. In both cases, the nostrils are large, and they're located up around what we'd call the forehead, kind of smack between the eyes.
On the one hand, this is one of those things that it's really hard to ever know for certain. We don't have preserved soft tissue, so when we make models of what dinosaurs might have looked like we're really going on clues from the bones and comparisons to living animals with similar bone structure. Because of that, it is somewhat reasonable to suggest that hey, maybe, sauropods really did look like grumpy diplodocus in the image above. It's fun to speculate.
But not all speculations are created equal. In a fascinating post at the Tetrapod Zoology blog, Darren Naish explains why a superficial similarity to trunked animals isn't enough to counteract the much-more prevalent evidence against sauropod trunks. One of the more interesting lines of evidence he points out is the fact that dinosaurs apparently lacked the facial which form the trunk in living animals. We know this partly because muscles leave their signature on bone, and Naish says there's no evidence sauropods had the right facial muscles. It's further bolstered by the fact that the animals most closely related to sauropods don't have those facial muscles, either.
Naish's piece reminds me of the last time we talked about sauropod biology here. Read the rest
AP: "An elephant named Shanthi at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is developing her musical talents by playing a harmonica with her trunk
." Read the rest
has published the results of its yearlong investigation that rips the big top off how Ringling Bros. circus treats its elephants. "The Cruelest Show on Earth
." Read the rest