Elephants never forget. They pass down wisdom from one generation to the next, creating what should be a long legacy based on ancestral experiences and attitudes. With poaching on the rise, increasing numbers of elephant families are losing their elders, and with them, they also lose knowledge about finding food and avoiding danger, further threatening the survival of the species. Researchers are particularly concerned about the lasting effects on matriarchal herds who lose their eldest members. Those older matriarchs are known to be better at leading herds, especially in times of crisis. In fact, calves have a better chance at survival during a drought if they belong to a herd led by an older matriarch. Younger female elephants are stepping into those vacant leadership roles and elephant families continue making their way, but the path of the species has been forever altered by poaching and the effects may never truly be known. The Atlantic published an in-depth article on the changing dynamics of matriarchal elephant herds, and we encourage readers to click through to read the full report on this troubling situation.

+ The Atlantic: Can elephant daughters fill the holes left by their poached mothers?

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