Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein

Posted by TacieJ on September 27, 2008 in TV general, TV summaries/critiques |

Episode – When Elephants Attack

This is a show worth watching for elephant conservation.

Elephants are afraid of bees. It’s interesting. Then again the African Killer Bees are something of which to be afraid.  One farm in Kenya or Tanzania was using a bee fence to keep the elephants from eating their crops. They had 86% less elephant damage than the farm next door that didn’t have a bee fence.  The farm also did a test to show that the sound of bees (that wonderful elephant memory at work) causes the elephants to leave.  And the older elephants thus teach the younger ones that this sound is bad – run away.  The farm test bee buzzing and a white noise on the same frequency as the buzz. The white noise got no reaction from the elephants. Watch the episode, it’s at the end.

Because I deleted the episode from the DVR my names are all missing – sorry.

Fatal elephant attacks are on the rise in Africa and India.  There are various theory’s at to why, but the one that Josh explores is poaching as the cause of elephant attacks. Elephants live very long lives and in such tight knit groups, when 1 is taken they mourn just like humans. It’s been documented that a herd of elephants will go back to the place where the elephant carcass is repeatedly. I didn’t know that. It’s known that elephants have a long memory. We can assign human feelings to the elephants – and why not – the experience mourning which implies a bonding and love. So if they can experience love, why not rage at the killing of their family? It’s one part of the theory that the baby’s are remembering the death of their Mom’s and are taking their rage out on human kind that killed Mom.  Another part is the matriach is being killed and there is no strong leadership and so the elephants are deliquent – just like a kid that grows up with no parents.

There is a lady Dame something something that takes orphan baby elephants, most with behavioral problems, and rehabilitates, raises them, and then releases them to a herd. Because they’ve been raised by humans they won’t harbor the bad feelings from infancy. The remember the happy times growing up. It was interesting how the elephants at the reserve help the incoming babies adjust to their new life.  Again… watch the program.

Then there was the rogue male elephant. He was scheduled for execution, but when the authorities saw he had a tracking device, they contacted the researchers to let them know that he in trouble. He had been breaking through electric fences and causing thousands of dollars of damage. He’s also been eating crops too. So because they could track this guy in real time, the researchers decided to see if they could use behavoir modification on him. So everytime he would go out of bounds a truck would show up and scare him back into the park area.  Well, because the elephants have good memory and seemly good deductive skills – this dude put 2 and 2 together and got 4.  Now he’s a well behaved mannerly elephant that doesn’t cause much damage.

The whole program was directed to the theory that poaching is the cause of the behavioral problems.  It’s interesting theory, which is unfortunately very hard to prove. It makes sense logically. And its interesting to watch. But then again, I like Josh’s style.

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