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Hunter Ambushed by Elephant, Trampled to Death

www.newsweek.com

Jack Dutton

A hunter in his late fifties was killed in Gabon when he was ambushed by an elephant and trampled to death.

The drama unfolded last week in Roungassa village, in the province of Ogooue Lolo, Gabon Media Time reported.

The website reported that the victim was a resident of the village and was “known to all.”

The remains of the man, whose identity has not been revealed, were found lying in the forest by members of the Central Brigade of the capital of Ogooué Lolo, residents told the website.

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This kind of hunting accident has been occurring more frequently in Gabon in recent months. More and more animals, especially elephants, are staying closer to the villages because of deforestation, which destroys the habitat and the trees whose fruits the animals feed on, the website reported.

Similar tragedies have been recorded in the provinces of Ngounié and Woleu-Ntem in recent months, according to the news website.

Gabon is home to a large colony of forest elephants, which can be dangerous when close to humans.

A similar incident took place in Northern Namibia on March 13, when a farmer was killed after being trampled on by an African savanna elephant. Abner Petrus, 46, lost his life after one of the animals attacked him from behind in Okatha-Kiikombo, a village in the Omusati region.

African forest elephants, which are smaller than the African savanna elephants, occupy most of the tropical forests in West and Central Africa, with the largest populations found in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.

Increased threats of poaching and loss of habitat have made Africa’s elephant more endangered, according to a report released in March by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Both the African forest elephant and the African savanna elephant are considered endangered.

The number of African forest elephants has fallen by more than 86 percent over a 31-year period, the report said, while the population of savanna elephants dropped by more than 60 percent over a 50-year period. The International Union for Conservation of Nature rates the global extinction risks to the world’s animals.

Africa currently has 415,000 elephants, counting the forest and savanna elephants together, according to the agency.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has predicted that the African elephant could be extinct by 2040, with poaching and human-wildlife conflict as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation the main threats to the survival of the species.Forest elephants are seen at Langoue Bai in the Ivindo national park, Gabon, on April 26, 2019. A man in his late fifties killed at a hunting party in Gabon after being ambushed and trampled upon by an elephant.Amaury Hauchard/Getty

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Bottlenose Dolphin Mom Adopts Pilot Whale Calf in New Zealand

people.com

Vanessa Etienne

New Zealand’s Far Out Ocean Research Collective spotted a bottlenose dolphin caring for a young pilot whale, and this isn’t the first time the species has stepped in as a surrogate mom.

On May 17, the Far Out Ocean Research Collective, based in Paihia, New Zealand, shared that they observed a female bottlenose dolphin interacting with a pilot whale calf like the newborn was her own offspring. Researchers believe that the dolphin adopted the young whale over a month ago and has been caring for the little creature.

“An interesting observation of an adult oceanic bottlenose dolphin with a newborn long-finned pilot whale off north-eastern New Zealand. Earlier in the day, the dolphin was part of a mixed-species group of false killer whales, pilot whales, and oceanic bottlenose dolphins,” the organization announced on Facebook.

RELATED: Dolphins Spotted Swimming in Venice’s Grand Canal: A ‘Beautiful and Rare Moment’

Far Out Ocean also noted that this is not the first time a bottlenose dolphin has been observed caring for the young of another ocean mammal. It is unclear why this species seems comfortable stepping in as a surrogate parent, but researchers have theories.

“It could be a misguided motherly instinct, or she lost her own calf,” said Far Out Ocean Jochen Zaeschmar, marine researcher, 1 News reports. “Pilot whales spend seven years with their calves. There is a good chance it will eventually join another pod of pilot whales as they often cross paths.”

Far Out Ocean has taken photos documenting the special relationship between the bottlenose dolphin and the young pilot whale they spotted this spring. The organization plans to continue watching the pair’s journey and sharing their findings with their social media followers.

“The individual is a well-known member of the north-eastern New Zealand offshore bottlenose dolphin population and regularly associates with pilot whales and false killer whales. We are hoping to re-encounter her to monitor this interesting phenomenon,” Far Out Ocean said on social media of the interspecies duo.

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