The trade of elephant tusks - and in general of all the "trophies" that derive from the slaughter of animals in danger of extinction - is a scourge that even today we have not managed to defeat. These "weapons" of pachyderms, which are nothing but huge modified teeth, are made of ivory and are widely used for the creation of valuable objects, as well as having different uses in traditional medicine. In fact, from the tusks a miraculous powder would be obtained that increases virility, strength and fertility, even if none of these effects has ever been scientifically ascertained.
Despite the various international bans and seizures, even today many elephants are killed (often by helicopter or plane) to sell their tusks at a high price on markets, especially in Asia.
But good news emerges from some studies on existing pachyderm populations: it seems that nature is gradually running for cover.
The most effective, though not very fast, way in which living beings can protect themselves from external threats is to implement evolutionary mechanisms to adapt to new conditions and circumvent the predator. The mechanism of evolution foresees that the individual with the winning characteristics will come to reproduce more than the one with losing characteristics, increasing the possibility that his strengths will be transmitted to future generations. In this case the procedure is simple: the poachers knock down only the elephants with fangs; those who do not have it therefore have more chances to survive until old age and to reproduce. Result? More and more elephants are born without fangs, and therefore "immune" from the threat of hunting.
The researchers of Mozambique who are studying the phenomenon have in fact found that, compared to a normal average between 2 and 4%, today 30% of the female population of elephants is devoid of tusks. A fact that would be reflected also with another, issued dall'Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa: it was also found that in the early 2000s 98% of the females present had no fangs.
A trend of this kind would therefore show that nature is implementing an externally induced defensive strategy, which could one day lead the elephant population to no longer deal with poachers.
Obviously, if on the one hand the news makes us happy, on the other it alarms us: the environmental impact of human actions is so strong as to force entire living species to rewrite their own genetic code in a few decades.