Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crop-raiding elephants flee tiger growls

Date:
September 11, 2013
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Wild Asian elephants slink quietly away at the sound of a growling tiger, but trumpet and growl before retreating from leopard growls, researchers have found. The work could help Indian farmers protect their crops from marauding elephants and save the lives of both people and animals.

Wild Asian elephants slink quietly away at the sound of a growling tiger, but trumpet and growl before retreating from leopard growls, researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found. The work, published Sept. 11 in the journal Biology Letters, could help Indian farmers protect their crops from marauding elephants and save the lives of both people and animals.

"We noticed that the elephants were more scared of tigers than of leopards," said Vivek Thuppil, who carried out the work with Richard Coss, professor of psychology at UC Davis, as part of his Ph.D. in animal behavior.

Thuppil and Coss studied the elephants' behavior in an effort to prevent conflicts between human farmers and elephant herds that raid their fields by night. It's the first study of nighttime antipredator behavior in elephants.

Crop raiding by elephants is a serious problem in India, Thuppil said. Farmers use drums, firecrackers and electrified fences to try to keep them out of their crops. About 400 people a year are killed during these encounters, and some hundred elephants are killed through poisoning, electrocution or other means, according to an Indian government report.

The researchers set up equipment to play back leopard or tiger growls triggered when the elephants crossed infrared beams across paths leading to crop fields, and captured the events on video.

Leopards aren't known to prey on elephants, but tigers will sometimes attack a young elephant that becomes separated from the herd.

Although their initial reactions were very different, the elephants ultimately retreated from growls of both cats.

The elephants might be confused by the leopard growl, Thuppil said. A real leopard would most likely retreat from a group of elephants. Still, there's probably no benefit to the elephants in risking an encounter with a leopard, even if it is not a known predator.

"You don't want to mess with something with claws and teeth," Thuppil said.

"They're acting in a very intelligent way," Coss said.

Wild elephant populations are stable or even increasing in forest areas, Thuppil said. While the forest itself is protected, human settlement increasingly has moved into the buffer areas surrounding the forest, which elephants pass through while foraging or visiting different patches of forest.

The work was supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Asian Elephant Conservation Fund and the Rufford Small Grants Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Crop-raiding elephants flee tiger growls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911161012.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2013, September 11). Crop-raiding elephants flee tiger growls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911161012.htm
University of California - Davis. "Crop-raiding elephants flee tiger growls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130911161012.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins