Killer Elephants

It's been a little while since I have posted about bizarre goings on the animal kingdom, but this latest story about elephants from this week's Science Times is too good to pass up.  Apparently, there is an increasing amount of human-elephant conflict, with elephants actually killing more humans than vice versa:

African elephants use their long tusks to forage through dense jungle
brush. They?ve also been known to wield them, however, with the
ceremonious flash and precision of gladiators, pinning down a victim
with one knee in order to deliver the decisive thrust…

All across Africa, India and parts of Southeast Asia, from within and
around whatever patches and corridors of their natural habitat remain,
elephants have been striking out, destroying villages and crops,
attacking and killing human beings. In fact, these attacks have become
so commonplace that a new statistical category, known as Human-Elephant
Conflict, or H.E.C., was created by elephant researchers in the
mid-1990?s to monitor the problem. In the Indian state of Jharkhand
near the western border of Bangladesh, 300 people were killed by
elephants between 2000 and 2004. In the past 12 years, elephants have
killed 605 people in Assam, a state in northeastern India, 239 of them
since 2001; 265 elephants have died in that same period, the majority
of them as a result of retaliation by angry villagers, who have used
everything from poison-tipped arrows to laced food to exact their
revenge. In Africa, reports of human-elephant conflicts appear almost
daily, from Zambia to Tanzania, from Uganda to Sierra Leone, where 300
villagers evacuated their homes last year because of unprovoked
elephant attacks.

Still not concerned?  Well, if that's not enough, it turns out that young male elephants have taken to raping and killing rhinocersos!  I'm not sure I've heard of another case of inter-species forced intercourse in the animal kingdom:

Still, it is not only the increasing number of these incidents that is
causing alarm but also the singular perversity ? for want of a less
anthropocentric term ? of recent elephant aggression. Since the early
1990?s, for example, young male elephants in Pilanesberg National Park
and the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa have been raping
and killing rhinoceroses; this abnormal behavior, according to a 2001
study in the journal Pachyderm, has been reported in ??a number of
reserves?? in the region.

Take home point?  Leave your rhino costume at home when you go to the zoo?

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