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January 17 2013

The Elephant Killing Fields


Poachers are slaughtering elephants across Africa at an unprecedented pace. But scientists tracking the animals' carcasses—their faces and ivory hacked away—are seldom able to explain in detail what these deaths mean to the pachyderms' populations and social structure. Now, a 14-year study of elephants in northern Kenya concludes that the adult behemoths are more likely to die at the hands of humans than from natural causes. At the same time, the elephants have responded to the heavy poaching with a baby boom, providing the researchers some hope for the jumbos' survival.

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