Genetic mutation originates elephants without ivory

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There is a genetic mutation in the elephant population in Mozambique that has led to the birth of new elephants devoid of ivory tips in recent years.

According to the results of a study published in upworthy portal, the phenomenon that can be attributed to the nefarious effects of poaching, at that time reached 1% of the population of the females that, when surviving, transmitted the gene to the following generations. Translates into the existence of this quality, in about 98% of the females born in the country.

The armed conflict, which lasted for 16 years until 1992, was the main cause of the extermination of large numbers of elephants in various conservation areas (parks and reserves), but thanks to the survival of one of the Nómade’s name, along with 11 of her sisters, an unexpected mutation, caused them to be born without the tips of ivory.

On the other hand, in the 10% of the pachyderm population that survived the armed conflict, half of the females had the same nomadic gene, responsible for the birth of offspring without the ivory tips.

Although this mutation was central to females’ survival, it also has a negative impact, since the tips are a crucial survival tool for pachyderms, used to excavate the earth in search of minerals or food, to tear off the bark Of the trees, or bend the branches for fruit.

In addition, males use the ivory tips in their struggles during the breeding season showing up to females as a form of display for sexual attraction.

Fortunately, the intelligence of the pachyderms and the fact that they have another important tool, the trunk, is allowing their survival and adaptation. There are now on the continent, according to this study, places where, 98% of females are born without tips.

In some markets, such as China, high demand for ivory remains high despite the country’s decision to ban domestic trade and the processing of all ivory derivatives by the end of this year (2017).

Notwithstanding China’s business, the period of civil war proved a rootlessness among elephant populations. When a family loses its matriarch, the possibility of the puppies surviving reduces significantly, since there is nobody to take care of the young ones.

The first-time park managers saw him, Nómade had a different group than the current one.

Further aggravating the situation, the absence of males causes females to suffer from high levels of stress due to the fact that they cannot reproduce. The few remaining males die before they can reproduce, causing the number of elephants born without tusks to continue to grow.

Among the several findings, the study points out that, as long as poaching does not end and ivory trade is not actually prosecuted as a crime, the trend of nomadic elephant numbers will be steadily growing.

Although half of the females surviving the civil war did not have spikes, only a third of the pups born after them have the condition. However, the fact that the animals reach the age of 70 means that if things improve, it will be possible to see a change in the trend in the next generations.

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