On the basis of calculations of energy use associated with traversing sloped terrain by such large animals, the researchers found that this behavior is likely related to the fact that even minor hills represent a considerable energy barrier for elephants because of the added calorie consumption required for such movements. The findings are reported by Fritz Vollrath of the University of Oxford and elephant experts Jake Wall and Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants, and appear in the July 25th issue of Current Biology, published by Cell Press.
Understanding the factors that determine locations of elephant density hot-spots and use corridors is critical in helping to secure safe niches for elephants in the face of growing human encroachment on elephants' native habitat. In their study of elephant movements, the authors focused on the Samburu/Isiolo/Laikipia districts in northern Kenya, which represent an area of about 32,000 square kilometers of mostly unprotected habitat. This range is home to about 5,400 elephants.
In the course of studying the influences of a range of environmental factors on elephant movement, the authors found that elephant density dropped off significantly with increasing hill slopes. While this effect may well involve such factors as risks of injury and overheating, or lack of water, the authors' calculations of the energy required for elephants to traverse sloped terrain indicate that the energetic costs of such movement could be a main factor influencing this behavioral tendency. For example, the authors calculate that climbing 100 meters would "burn" energy that would take an extra half hour of foraging to replace--or would need to be paid for by expenditure of body reserves. In light of their calculations, the authors point out in the paper that "clearly, climbing is something that an elephant should not do lightly, but should weigh very carefully."
On the basis of their findings, the authors suggest that large animals probably take a rather different view of their surroundings than do lightweight animals, and that this is probably especially true of heavyweight animals, like elephants, that are herbivores, for whom energy replenishment can be especially time consuming.
How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering