Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In elephant news

The Javan elephant, long thought to be extinct, may not be extinct after all. It may just have been living on another island, Borneo.
Borneo pygmy elephants live at the northern tip of Borneo and don't look or act like other Asian elephants. Local stories indicated the elephants had been brought to Borneo by the sultan of Sulu. (Sulu is now part of the Philippines.) And in turn, the Sulu elephants are thought to have originated in Java.
A new paper shows no evidence that elephants have lived in Borneo for a long time, supporting this theory. Thus, the gifting of elephants between rulers may have saved this species from extinction, at least for now. There are only 1,000 left in the wild.