Elephants who were subjected to culling decades ago continue to exhibit behaviors similar to those found in people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Elephants who were witness to culling decades ago continue to exhibit behaviors similar to those found in people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Culling, the thinning of populations by killing a herd’s adults and relocating the young, was a popular means of animal conservation from the 60s through the 90s
Researchers recently studied many animals that were involved in some of these culls.
The scientists found that elephant’s abilities to make decisions and participate in societal communications were severely impaired and remained so for decades.
Experts believe that among the social cues culled elephants may not be able to understand are the signs of impending danger. As a result, many are left unable to prevent harm to themselves.
One significant threat that faces them in the wild is being forced from their grazing lands by more dominant elephants, especially older females.
Among the relocated groups studied, their reactions to recorded elephant calls were random and they appeared unable to appropriately interpret and respond to signs they could be in harm’s way.
The researchers believe that the breakdown in picking up on essential social signals could greatly and adversely affect some herds’ abilities to reproduce and grow.