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Re: Ain't No Mountain Low Enough [elephants don't like steep terrain]
Quoting Dominic Nardi <email@example.com>:
As for elephants, I have to say I don't think this is the final story.
The article only deals with African elephants. I know from experience
riding many elephants in Southeast Asia (including one ride that lasted
2 days!) that Asian elephants can be extraordinary climbers (we went up
at least one hill far steeper slopes than 43 degrees). The elephants
may have done this only because the mahouts ordered them to, but I was
impressed with how well they did climb.
Yes - they're remarkably agile animals for their size. The study in
question mentioned that preferential avoidance of steep slopes may not
just be over concerns of slipping and falling. To quote:
"It's over 2500% more costly to move a vertical meter than a
horizontal meter if you're an elephant," he says. Climbing an extra
100 meters would require an elephant to add another half hour of
foraging to its daily dietary regime just to keep from losing
weight, the team reports 25 July in Current Biology.
So perhaps slope avoidance was related to the harshness of the
environments in which those particular elephants lived. Traversing
steeper slopes may have burned more calories than foraging those
slopes would have provided.
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