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THE FATE OF THE ELEPHANT by...

THE FATE OF THE ELEPHANT by Douglas H. Chadwick (Sierra Club Books: $14.; 492 pp.). Chadwick spent years traveling in Africa and Asia, researching his sympathetic account of the status of these intelligent, highly social animals. He discovered elephants play an important ecological role that scientists have only begun to study: By thinning the jungle when they forage, they allow plants to grow that gorillas and other animals and birds depend on for food. But the pressure of Africa’s burgeoning human population on fragile ecosystems and the mass slaughter of animals for their tusks have reduced the elephant population to a fraction of what it was just a few decades ago. Chadwick also visited artisans and merchants in Asia and found that the bulk of the world’s ivory goes to Japan, where it is used to produce “signature seals, jewelry and tourist trinkets.”


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