BY BROOKLYN PINHEIRO
Ivory hunting has been a key factor in decreasing the African elephant population from the few million at the turn of the century to the less than half a million that exists now. But with an increasing amount of elephants being born without tusks poachers have essentially screwed themselves out of product and work.
Previous to poaching two to six per cent of elephants were born tusk-less, but now the numbers have shot up to 98 per cent of female African elephants being born tusk-less in certain regions. This evolution of the species is due to the fact that the only elephants left to procreate are the ones that haven’t been poached because they didn’t have tusks.
Tusks are genetic, so elephants without tusks are likely to give birth to ivory-free elephants. Poachers have killed the majority of their supply and it is not replenishing itself. Through the violence imposed on the species they have naturally altered themselves. While this is depressing news, the major upside is that without the draw to hunt them, this evolution could be what saves African elephants from their near extinction.
Tusks are used for digging, protection, and to assist in gathering food. Without them elephants will have to change their behaviours, a price to pay for survival.