Skip to comments.Get Out Of The Way. . . He Hasn't Forgotten (Elephant Revenge?)
Posted on 02/15/2006 5:01:40 PM PST by blam
Get out of the way... he hasn't forgotten
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
The reputation that elephants have for never forgetting has been given a chilling new twist by experts who believe that a generation of pachiderms may taking revenge on humans for the breakdown of elephant society.
The New Scientist reports today that elephants appear to be attacking human settlements as vengeance for years of abuse by people.
In Uganda, for example, elephant numbers have never been lower or food more plentiful, yet there are reports of the creatures blocking roads and trampling through villages, apparently without cause or motivation.
Scientists suspect that poaching during the 1970s and 1980s marked many of the animals with the effects of stress, perhaps caused by being orphaned or witnessing the death of family members - and producing the equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Many herds lost their matriarch and had to make do with inexperienced "teenage mothers". Combined with a lack of older bulls, this appears to have created a generation of "teenage delinquent" elephants.
Joyce Poole, the research director at the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya, who has co-authored a paper on elephant behaviour, said: "They are certainly intelligent enough and have good enough memories to take revenge.
"Wildlife managers may feel that it is easier to just shoot so-called 'problem' elephants than face people's wrath.
"So an elephant is shot without [people] realising the possible consequences on the remaining family members and the very real possibility of stimulating a cycle of violence."
Her study showed that a lack of older bulls to lead by example had created gangs of hyper-aggressive young males with a penchant for violence towards each other and other species. For instance, in Pilanesburg National Park in South Africa, young bulls have been attacking rhinos since 1992.
And in Addo Elephant National Park, also in South Africa, 90 per cent of male elephants are killed by another male - which is 15 times the "normal" figure.
Richard Lair, a researcher specialising in Asian elephants at the National Elephant Institute based in Thailand, said there were similar problems in India, where villagers lived in fear of male elephants, which the villagers claim attack the village for only one reason - to kill humans.
"In wilderness areas where wild elephants have no contact with human beings they are, by and large, fairly tolerant," he said.
"The more human beings they see, the less tolerant they become."
One of the documentary channels has a one-hour special on this subject. When pi--ed, these guys can do some damage.
I saw that one: "The Dark Side of Elephants". Very good show, and awe-inspiring.
Also, it shows how *fast* elephants are when they're really motivated. There were several clips of elephants lunging forward or jerking to the side, and it looked like time-lapse photography -- one instant they were in one position, and then *flick* they were in another.
It also described many elephant attacks on people, and said that instead of just stomping them flat (which also happens), a really angry elephant will simply use its strength to literally pull people apart into numerous pieces... One trainer who survived an attack showed the enormous scars he has from where the elephant shoved a tusk entirely through his body -- in two different places.
They're also almost silent when want to sneak up on someone, can run faster than a race horse, and post "sentries" when they raid a village. They can communicate with each other across several miles, using subsonic communication that travels very far, but is below the range of human hearing.
"Her study showed that a lack of older bulls to lead by example had created gangs of hyper-aggressive young males with a penchant for violence towards each other and other species."
Sounds like the same problem as in our crime ridden inner cities. No father.
This is the thanks we get for giving them decent jobs in circuses and movies and plying them with peanuts? Sounds like they've unionized.
I know that feeling...
Maybe they just figured out they like the squishy feeling between their toes.
"...gangs of hyper-aggressive young males with a penchant for violence towards each other and other species."
So... what I'm hearing is that elephants are Moslem? Who knew.
oh, man...you better hope they can't read.
Elephants have no tolerance for sarcasm
I'm afraid, I hope Africa is a long way from my house.
That's the one I saw too. I was seriously suprised at their speed of movement too...not only just running.
I'll bet donkeys are hamburger under the feet of angry elephants...even ANGRY, DRUNK donkeys.
They're finally fed up with all those John Merrick jokes. I knew it would come to this.
Funny, I've come to the same conclusion.
Ah, but this is not a new story, it's very old. Go to your library, and find "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling. Read his short story, "Letting in the Jungle." He wrote the story of elephants destroying villages in 1894.
Maybe the GOP should take a lesson from this ... .
Kick some you know what!
Well...I can certainly understand that conclusion.
"Remember me, Mr. Schneider? Kenya, 1947.
If you're going to shoot an elephant, Mr. Schneider, you'd better be prepared to finish the job."