In many parts of the world, elephant populations are threatened, due to demand for ivory and loss of habitat. A comprehensive study, however, suggests that protected areas may offer real hope for both Asian and African elephants. According to the results of the six-year study, elephants living in protected areas of Kenya and Myanmar have lifespans that are at least twice as long as those housed in zoos. In fact, even elephants born and raised in zoos tended to have shorter lifespans than those captured in the wild and later taken to zoos. The study's authors point to factors such as obesity and stress as likely reasons why elephants do not survive nearly as long in zoos as in protected areas of the wild.
A trunkload of elephant facts:
- African elephants have the longest gestation period of any mammal, at an average of 22 months.
- Only cartoon elephants eat peanuts; real ones never touch the stuff.
- No Asian elephant has ever been filmed running; they appear to always keep at least two feet on the ground.