New Scientist article By: Emma Thompson Emma Thompson and Emma Thompson | August 14, 2019 05:30:37More than 100 elephants are at risk of extinction, with more than 1,000 elephants in China at risk, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.
Elephants were first recognised as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1980.
They are now widely used as a valuable pet, as well as an important source of meat and other products for farmers.
But they face a variety of challenges, with a wide range of disease and trauma leading to their demise.
In addition to habitat loss, poaching, pollution and climate change, a recent UN report has found that more than half of the world’s elephant populations are now threatened with extinction, and more than 70% of the global population of Asian elephants are believed to be threatened.
Researchers from the University of Washington, US, and the University at Buffalo, New York, examined elephant behavior and communication using data from captive elephants.
They found that elephants were more willing to communicate if they thought they were in danger, compared to when they believed they were safe.
“The fact that they are not scared by you, but they are willing to come out of hiding to help you is pretty remarkable,” lead author Emma Thompson said.
The researchers say that elephants also have a sense of social value and that when they can communicate, it has a social benefit.
“Their social skills are really useful for us,” she said.
“When we can help other animals, it’s great.”
Emma Thompson, a senior research associate at the University At Buffalo, is also a professor of psychology at the school.
She said that the research showed that elephants have different cognitive skills to humans.
“There’s this kind of thing where people tend to think they know how animals think,” she explained.
“But it turns out that animals can also be very cognitive, which is what we wanted to see.”
The researchers also found that the elephants had different levels of social awareness.
“It’s really clear that the animals that are being trained have this cognitive ability to know when someone is in danger,” Ms Thompson said, “so they’re really good at predicting when someone will be in danger.”
The findings highlight the need for better understanding of elephant cognition, she added.
“They are a very social species, they live in the forests, they can see people all the time, they’re very smart and they have this ability to use their brains to make decisions,” Ms Thomson said.