An increasing number of African elephants are now born tuskless because poachers have consistently targetted animals with the best ivory over decades, fundamentally altering the gene pool.
In some areas 98 per cent of female elephants now have no tusks, researchers have said, compared to between two and six per cent born tuskless on average in the past. 
Almost a third of Africa’s elephants have been illegally slaughtered by poachers in the past ten years to meet demand for ivory in Asia, where there is still a booming trade in the material, particularly in China.
About 144,000 elephants were killed between 2007 and 2014, leaving the species at risk of extinction in some areas. Meanwhile those African elephant populations that do survive could become virtually tuskless, like their Asian cousins, researchers have warned.
Joyce Poole is head of the charity Elephant Voices and has been tracking developments in the species for more than 30 years. …
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