In most mammals, individuals who begin to get older tend to reproduce less and simultaneously devote themselves less to finding a mate. This does not apply to elephants.
According to a new study, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology and conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, Save the Elephants and Colorado State University, male elephants, as they age, increase the time they spend looking for a companion.
The study, carried out by researcher Lucy Taylor, was conducted through cross-sectional observations carried out with GPS locators attached to the skin of 25 male elephants aged between 20 and 52 years. The animals, monitored for 18 years from 2000 to 2018, lived in the national reserves of Buffalo Springs and Samburu, northern Kenya.
The results clearly showed that older elephants spent more time looking for females and were also more energetic in mating than younger ones. At the same time, the females themselves seemed to prefer the older ones. This is because elephants never stop growing and when they get to their “third age” they are bigger and bigger than younger elephants.
This attracts females because it is an indication of survival skills. And the older elephants take advantage of their larger size by trying more and more in search of new females.
Among the resulting data, there is that relating to the greater speed of older elephants: fifty-year-old males showed they could move 50% faster than those of 35 years and three times faster than in their twenties.