Appalling! I am overcome with consternation, shock and dismay upon reading that the carcasses of 40 elephants, along with scores of other wild animal remains, were found to be indiscriminately poisoned by poachers using cyanide in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. The murderers committed these crimes in October of this year solely for the purpose of stealing the ivory tusks. The discovery of this atrocity was made only days after scientists announced a breakthrough in cancer research related to elephants.
We’ve often heard that elephants never forget, but have only recently discovered that they almost never get cancer (Journal of American Medical Association, October, 2015). New research indicates that the gentle-giant has super cancer fighting abilities due to a genetic make-up allowing it to create a protein to suppress tumors. Over a three year period, scientists performed a variety of experiments to prove that elephants can fend off cancer.
Given the vast size of our largest land mammal, having about 100 times more cells than humans and an equally lengthy lifespan of about 70 years, one might think that elephants would be more susceptible to cancer than us. However, scientists say that there are fewer than five percent cancer related deaths in elephants compared to nearly 25% in humans. Researchers say that the next step is to see if they can use what has been learned from studying the elephants and apply it to treating people with cancer.
There is still a lot of research to be done and we have much to learn from the elephants. That is only one of many reasons why it is critical that we do something to stop the horrifying and daunting destruction of the animal which could one day lead to the largest discovery in the fight to cure cancer.
Please do something. Join us in our efforts to raise awareness for the dire situation facing the African elephants and help us promote conservation of this threatened species. Care. Share. Give!