Thursday, 1 October 2009

Pgymy Pachyderms footnotes


Back to Pygmy pachyderms Fortean Times article.

(1) Hidden Giants – Forest Elephants of the Congo Basin, Stephen Blake, Wildlife Conservation Society, Rapac, Projet Especes Phares, AG Partners, Gabon, West Africa, no date given but circa 2006, ISBN 0-9792418-0-4. I would like to praise the impressive conservation projects carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in the habitats of the forest elephant and other endangered animals, and to thank them for their help on this article.

(2) ‘Pigmy Elephants,’ Guy Dollman, Natural History Magazine, Natural History Museum, London, vol 4, no 31, 1934.

(3) ‘A propos des Formes Naines d’Elephant D’Afrique’, (on dwarf forms of the African elephant,) Mammalia Tome 26, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifque, Paris (no date given for Cameroon specimen).

(4) ‘A Dwarf form of the African Elephant,’ Prof. Theodore Noack, Annals and Magazine of Natural History, London, vol 7, no 17 1906, This is a summary translation from German from Zoologischer Anzeiger vol 29, no 20 January 1906.
‘Pygmy elephants of Africa,’ Zoological Society Bulletin, R. L. Garner 1923 vol 26, New York Zoological Society, New York.
‘Our second pygmy elephant’, W. T. Hornaday, Bulletin of the New York Zoological Society, Vol 26, no. 1 1923. New York Zoological Society, New York.
William Bridges, A Gathering Of Animals, an Unconventional History of the New York Zoological Society, Harper and Row, NY, no date given. The New York Zoological Society became the Wildlife Conservation Society.

(5)‘L’elephant nain du lac Leopold II (Congo),’(Dwarf elephant of Lake Leopold II,) Dr. H, Schoutenden (Museé de Congo, Tenveuren), Revue zoologique africaine, Vol 3 1914, Hayez, Brussels. This based on a report from the Cahiers section of La Nature – Revue Des Sciences, vol 39, 1910-1911, Lahure, Paris. “We have learned from Mr. Le Petit, an explorer of the Natural History Museum in Paris in Temba-Mayi river, which feeds into the north bank of the lake… (this) is where M. Le Petit saw a group of five individuals.” (Author’s translation)

(6) ‘Evolution Status of the so-called African pygmy elephant (Loxodonta pumilio, NOACK 1906)’ Régis Debruyne, Arnaud Van Holt, Véronique Barriel, Pascal Tassy, Compte Rendu Biologies 326 (2003) 687–697 Natural History Museum/ Elsevier, Paris.

(7) On The Track of Unknown Animals, Bernard Heuvelmans 1959, Richard Garner trans.
Kegan Paul, London, 1955 first edition (French) and 1995 3rd edition. (Text on pygmy elephants is identical for both editions.)

(8) The mitochondrial DNA survey is described in Hidden Giants – Forest Elephants of the Congo Basin Stephen Blake, Wildlife Conservation Society.
Dr Colin Groves’ comment on on herds of forest elephants that often don’t have bulls are on the ABC News website.
Garner’s comments on Congo are from ‘Pygmy elephants of Africa,’ New York Zoological Society Bulletin, R. L. Garner 1923 vol 26.
The controversy around hybrids prompted the African Elephant Specialist Group to put out a “position paper” stating their official view on hybrids. “Recent genetic evidence” would suggest that the savannah elephant Loxodonta africana africana and the forest elephant Loxodonta africana cyclotis “may in fact constitute two separate species… In addition, the existence of a third species, a West African elephant inhabiting both forests and savannahs in the region has been suggested… The (African Elephant Specialist) Group believes that the premature allocation of African elephants into separate specific taxa (species) would leave hybrids in an uncertain taxonomic and conservation status, and that more research is needed before such an allocation can be made.” Position Paper, African Elephant Status Report 2002.

Thanks to Dr Victoria Herridge, who is researching elephant locomotion at University College London and the Natural History Museum, for her help on this article. Dr Herridge had a visit from the production team of the film 10,000 BC shortly before she showed me round the museum’s Bate Collection of pygmy elephant fossils. And yes, Victoria did advise them that mammoths couldn’t possibly have built the pyramids, and that mammoths and elephants don’t run – running being defined as when all the animal’s legs leave the ground at some point.

(9) ‘Zur weiteren Dokumentation des Zwergelefanten,’ Wolfgang Böhme and Martin Eisentraut, Zeitschrift des Kolner Zoo (Journal of the Cologne Zoo,) 1990. The article also describes how Dr Claus Muller, who was the vet at the presidential Tatoma Zoo in Freetown, Liberia in the 1970s, said he regularly tended to two five-foot (1m 50cm) adult elephants. There are two photos of these elephants in the article, which are not of very good quality – in one of them Dr Muller and a woman are standing right in front of the elephants, so you can’t see much. An English summary is in ISC Newsletter (International Society of Cryptozoology) Vol. 11, No 1, 1991.
State-controlled legal elephant hunting still exists in Congo Brazaville, with a 15000 Central African francs fee for exporting ‘ivory under trophy’, according to the Congo Brazaville government website Nestroy may have been on a ‘diplomatic hunt.’
Harald Nestroy is donating his fee for his photographs to his philanthropic projects in Bhutan.

(10) The Dzanga Clearing study is in Hidden Giants – Forest Elephants of the Congo Basin, Stephen Blake.

(11) Speculation on elephant populations during civil wars from Africa’s elephant – a biography, Martin Meredith, Hodder, London, 2001. Discovery of Sudan and Eritrea elephant herds from BBC News. The baboons acted as treetop look-outs, in return for which the elephants dug wells and grubbed up tubers for them to eat. Elephants are apparently able to smell water underground.

(12) ‘Origins of the Elephants Elephas Maximus L. of Borneo,’ Sarawak Museum Journal 2008.

(13) Numerous elephant population surveys for India and for all Asia give noticeably different statistics. See also ‘Asian elephant survey’ The Hindu, (Chennai, India,) 8 November 2007,

(14) “Malayali wildlife expert P S Easa” reported earlier kallaana sightings by the Kani in ‘Elephantine Paradox - Pygmy Jumbos Sighted,’ R Gopakumar, Deccan Herald, (Mysore, India,) 20 January 2005,
Paul Sondaar and Gert van den Bergh’s 1997 study of Indonesian stegadons led them to conclude that their legs shortened to allow “low gear locomotion” on steep slopes – possibly giving them access to upland pastures. Cited in La Terra degli Elefanti, (in English and Italian,) Alti del 10 Congresso Internazionale, C Cavaretta, P Gioia, M Mussi, M R Palombo, Consiglio Nazionale della Richerhe, Rome, 2001. See the display in the mammal hall of the Natural History Museum, London on how full-size elephants negotiate big ditches. (At ). African elephants in the desert of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast crawl up dunes on all fours, and belly-surf down dunes on their bottoms. Dr Herridge told me we will have to wait until 2011 for the publication of her definitive study on elephant locomotion, including the locomotion of fossil pygmy elephants. (Update - 14/04/2013 - Dr Herridge still cannot say when this will be published.)

(15) ‘A group of four,’ Deccan Herald, 6 June 2005.
In Search of India’s Pygmy Elephants, Sali Palode, Mallan Kani, Sanctuary Magazine,
‘A pygmy among the jumbos?’ Telhelka, the people’s paper, Thekkady, India, 19 February 2005,
Author’s email correspondence with Prof. R. Sukumar, 12-04-2009

(16) Elephant Days and Nights, R. Sukumar, Oxford, Delhi 1994.
18 January 2008, untitled article by Manoj K.Das, The Hindu, 25 August 2005

(17) ‘Move to track pygmy elephants abandoned,’ K.S. Sudhi, Telhelka, January 18 2005.
A group of four, Deccan Herald, 6 January 2005
‘Elephantine Paradox - Pygmy Jumbos Sighted,’ R Gopakumar, Deccan Herald, 20 January 2005
‘In search of pygmy elephants’, The Hindu, 23 August 2005
‘Pygmy elephants’, Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates, 30 May 2005
‘21 elephants found in Western Ghats at Kanyakumari,’ The Hindu, 6 January 2008.
Emails, faxes and letters sent to Peppara Reserve Wildlife Wardens, to the office of Kerala Forests and Wildlife’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and to various named people at Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) enquiring about possible results from the DNA test on the alleged kallaana carcass elicited no reply. No one picked up the phone on the several occasions I rang all the numbers listed for KFRI. As my mum said, they were probably out in the forest.

(18) Author’s email correspondence with Prof. R. Sukumar, 12-04-2009

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