Originally I heard this on NPR, and if you google
Angola elephants landmines
or maybe better
you'll find the NPR hit plus 2 or 3 print hits, including National
Although I hear, and I think I know from my and my friends' experience
that google no longer shows all the same things to everyone.
So if yyy reads this, I'd like to know if he found the 2 or 3 hits first
on the google list.
Anyhow, during the fairly recent civil? war in Angola, the rebels? laid
many landmines, and quite a few elephants were injured by them, and
died, painfully. Injuries to their trunk and forelegs that either --
I'm not sure - didn't get treated because they were wild elephants and
no one was there to help, or it was beyond the skill of a vet,
The rebels? also killed a lot of elephants to sell the ivory and theur
population was depleted, but they are coming back because of immigration
from neighboring countries. Donald Trump is against this, and has said
that if he is not elected president of the US, he'll run for president
of Angola. He's already bought a home there to set up dual residency.
Anyhow, according to one or two, or maybe more, observers on the ground,
and according to satellite tracking of 5 elephants, the elephants are
avoiding the landmines now, and there are no reports of injured
They gave two theories, A) that the elephants could smell the landmines,
from as much as 100 meters away. Elephants they said have a sense of
smell that is 3? times as good as dogs', whose sense is 100? times**
good as people's. Or B) that the elephants knew where other elephants
had been hurt by mines and they remembered**
* and avoided those areas.
And somehow they conveyed this information to immigrant elephants. The
NPR story, but not the other links, said they would sometimes give a
trumpet blow to warn other elephants. If this is true, it's fantastic
and shows how much we don't know.
*((I have heard that even a year or two later, at least once, or once
in a while, when a family of elephants returns to where one of them
died, they'll hang around for a few hours before moving on. ))
Although one local tv new story had a guy who insisted dogs were not
that much better than people, and he dragged something with chocolate on
it across the grass, and then had people get on their hands and knees
wtith their noses right on the grass, and said they could follow the
scent as well as a dog. I suspect the scent from chocolate was 100 or
1000 times as strong as what a person leaves, but it sounds like a fun
activity to have at a picnic.
The US military sent one or more people to learn more about this. I
can just see it now, When someone escapes from an Arkansas jail, the
good 'ole boys won't be tracking him with their hound dogs but with
their elephants. In their spare time they'll play fetch with the
elephants. Or at the airport, instead of TSA personel checking your
luggage, there will be TSE's, Transportation Security Elephants.