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Ivory trade takes its toll

Updated: 2014-09-16 07:04
By Yang Yao (China Daily)

The number of elephants without tusks is rising because of the ivory trade, according to wildlife experts, although a lack of samples means there are no exact figures. Unlike African elephants, only about 50 percent of male Asian elephants have tusks, while the same percentage of females have short tusks called tushes, which don't contain pulp.

Xiong Chaoyong, manager of the Asian Elephant Breeding Center, located near the Wild Elephant valley in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, said that as the number of tusked elephants killed rises, tuskless elephants are becoming dominant and passing on their genes to new generations.

Xiong has worked at the center, which aids sick and injured elephants and attempts to reintroduce them to the wild, for more than 14 years. During that time, he and his colleagues have rescued 11 injured or sick elephants and bred three calves.

Every day, the staff sends the elephants to the mountains in search of food, but they also provide 20 kg of carrots, 20 kg of bananas, 10 kg of corn, and 160 kilos of grass as daily dietary supplements for the animals.


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