Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A herd of elephants

A new baby African elephant, Uzuri, was born on February 17 at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent. Keepers at the Park are delighted because African elephants are very difficult to breed in captivity. At the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, keepers and veterinarians are posting a close and anxious watch over Felix, an African elephant, who is poised to deliver the first elephant ever born at the 132- year-old zoo. Their 7,490-pound patient, whom they describe as "kinda petite," is due any day now. Villagers in Wellaveli, Sri Lanka had a difficult time recently when trying cast votes in the first local elections in 14 years as a herd of wild elephants blocked the polling booths. (Might have been a Republican tactic.) Residents of Kwale, Kenya, have called for the Kenya Wildlife Service to act after elephants crushed farmlands and attacked villagers in recent days. Local children are staying home from school to protect them from elephant attacks. (A much better excuse than "The dog ate my homework.") An infuriated wild elephant trampled two persons to death, when a group of people, who gathered to watch the rescue of another pachyderm that fell into an irrigation well at Muthampatti near Rayakottai, pelted stones at it. Concerned over the damage caused by the elephants to crops farmers have blamed the Forest Department for failing to take any action in chasing the elephants back into the forests.

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