December 9, 2021 – Dr. Kelly Diehl talks with Dr. Daniella Chusyd about forest elephants, which were recently designated a new species of elephant. Found in Africa, forest elephants face unique challenges. Dr. Chusyd discusses the species, their unique health challenges, and their struggle for survival.
Ivory - https://www.fws.gov/international/travel-and-trade/ivory-ban-questions-and-answers.html
Palm oil apps - PalmSmart, Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping (Cheyenne Mountatin Zoo)
0:00:07.6 Kelly Diehl: Welcome to Fresh Scoop, Episode 39. Everything you wanted to know about forest elephants but were afraid to ask, and I'm your host, Dr. Kelly Diehl, Morris Animal Foundation, Senior Director of Science and Communication, and today, we'll talk to Dr. Daniella Chusyd. Dr. Chusyd is a current postdoc in the School of Public Health at Indiana University, but in two weeks, she gets a big promotion, and she will be an Assistant Professor there. So welcome, Daniella.
0:00:39.6 Daniella Chusyd: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to be here.
0:00:44.6 KD: Before we get started, I always ask everyone, Daniella, if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to study elephants?
0:00:52.7 DC: Yeah. So ever since I was a kid, I've always been into nature and being outside and animals, but it's definitely shifted and evolved as I've gotten older, but one of the biggest... And people laugh, but one of the biggest impacts on me was actually the movie, The Lion King.
0:01:16.6 DC: And so, I remember seeing it when I was a kid in the summer, I remember crying when the dad died, and I think it was the first time I cried in a movie, and it really stuck with me. And then I really always felt like a draw to the continent of Africa and this idea, which obviously originated because of The Lion King. And so, Disney, you have some serious sway over people, I have to say.
0:01:47.9 DC: But I just had this image in my head, and I didn't know what that image actually was, right? You don't know if it's true or not sure how factual it is, but there was this idea, and I was really infatuated with lions. And I didn't have any real reason to be infatuated with lions, it was just like... I thought they were cool, that they were awesome, I had this image to them. And for my undergraduate degree, I was a biochemistry major. I was a biochemistry major because I either wanted to go in the path of working for the government, like let's say the FBI, or I wanted to go into research. And even at that time, I didn't know what that actually meant. I didn't know that meant a PhD, I never even envisioned during my undergraduate degree getting a PhD. It was just this idea in my head like, lions are super cool, I want to study them, but I didn't really know at that time what that meant.
0:02:48.2 DC: And then fast-forward a few years, and I had the opportunity to participate in a human-elephant conflict project in the National Park Ruaha, and it's in the south of Tanzania. And I remember thinking, "Okay, they're not lions, but it gets me to where lions are. So okay, let's see how this goes." And I was really trying to increase my experience with research in general and field work. And so, I was like, "Okay, cool, cool, cool, let's go, I'll see some lions here and there, and then I'll just have to do some elephant stuff on the side. Okay." So, part of the project, it really focused on human-elephant conflict, and for those listening, who might not be familiar, I'm just going to deviate really quick and just explain that. So, elephants, like people, need a lot of space, and like people like things like watermelon and bananas and corn.
0:03:54.6 DC: And unfortunately, what that means is as human populations continue to increase, a lot of natural habitats are being converted into agricultural land, and humans and elephants are coming into contact much more readily, and so elephants are eating farmers' crops quite frequently, and obviously, that creates conflict on both sides of the equation. So, part of this project was to erect beehive fences to see how effective that would be, as well as hot chili pepper fences, but the other thing was to bring villagers that live on the outskirts of the national park into the park to see this other side of animals, so not just the negative, not just the conflict, but "Hey, this is what they look like when they're in their natural habitat. This is the ecosystem, these are the ways that they interact with other species," all of that. So, one of those days, we're in the park, we're with these villagers, and a herd of, maybe it was like 30 elephants started to cross the river, and so we stopped to watch them. And I remember just being just floored by them, astounded, and just watching them interact, watching them play, seeing what I felt was enjoyment in that moment, seeing how...
0:05:16.5 DC: I knew nothing about elephants, really, at the time. So, I was like, "What? Elephants swim?" like, "What? Elephants go completely submerged under the water, and that's like a thing?" And so, I was just totally enamored by this experience, and I really wanted to start learning as much as I could about elephants from that point on. I always say that's the moment I realized I fell in love with elephants. And from that point on, it's just been the same thing, I just want to continuously learn and learn and learn about them, and the more I learn, the more I want to learn, and I just feel like they're like an onion, where you peel back one layer, and then there's another. And then that's how it happened. I had actually accepted a spot in a PhD program that fall, in Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, thinking I was going to study exercise and nutrition. And the first week I was there, and I realized, "Ooh, you need to do a lot of reading for a PhD". And I was like, "You really need to be passionate about what you're doing if you're going to be successful and good at it."
0:06:21.7 DC: And I realized I wasn't passionate about exercise. I enjoy exercise, but I was passionate about elephants, just that thirst for knowledge about them. And so, then it started me down a path of, "How can I marry nutrition science and elephants?" And then it just continued to grow and develop and, fast-forward, here we are today, and me talking to you, Kelly.
0:06:44.6 KD: That's awesome. What an awesome story, Daniella. I think you're not the only person. I talk to a lot of veterinarians, obviously, and there's a whole bunch of us who were influenced by All Creatures Great and Small. I think if we had to pick one book, for a lot of veterinarians that was a real seminal... Whether you watched the old TV show from the '70s or read the books. Yeah. Let's start a little bit with basics. I think people know there are different kinds of elephants, but can you talk to us about the different types of elephants? because it's not as simple as African and Asian.
0:07:22.0 DC: No, it is not as simple as African and Asian, and most people have learned that there are two species of elephants, your African elephant, which is what Disney portrayed in the Lion King, or Dumbo and whatnot, and then the Asian elephant, but actually, back in March, I want to say it was like March 25th of this year, it was finally recognized that there are two species of African elephant: The savanna elephant, which is the African elephant that most people are imagining when they think of an African elephant, and then the African forest elephant.
0:08:00.7 DC: So now we have officially three species of elephant. So Asian elephants are those that reside in Asia, and they're found in 13 range states, and I think to date the best estimates are, somewhere around 48,000 to 50,000 wild Asian elephants remain, and 60% or so of those are actually found only in India, and then there's a few countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, I believe, that have more than 2,000 Asian elephants, and then the rest have less than that. So Asian elephants are definitely in this very critical time in terms of their conservation.
0:08:46.5 DC: So then if we shift to our African elephants, up until March 25th, 2021, they were treated as one species, so they were counted as one, they were classified as one, so they're classified as vulnerable, and approximately 415,000-ish African elephants across the continent, and now, for the first time, they're actually being listed as two separate species. So, the savanna elephant is classified now as endangered, so this is the first time now it's being classified as endangered, while the forest elephant population is being classified as critically endangered.
0:09:26.0 DC: And so, for both populations, poaching has been one of the major drivers to population loss and poaching really peaked around 2011 and has now come down, but it's still a problem, but other big issues for them, climate change, so changes in rainfall pattern, food distribution, things like that, but also habitat loss. And this is the same for Asian elephants. Habitat loss is a major contributor to the decline in their populations and something that I think maybe most people overlook and just focus on poaching being such an issue.
0:10:05.9 DC: But because of this, for savanna elephants, their populations have decreased by around 60% over two generation times; and for forest elephants, it's even worse. So, they used to be found in West Africa and in Central Africa. Now, in West Africa, you find very small populations, small, fragmented pockets, and really there are only in 6% to 7% of what their range used to be back in 1984. To give you an example, in the country, Ivory Coast, their population has decreased by 90%. And then in Central Africa, you find them primarily in five countries now, forest elephants. You find them in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Gabon, and Gabon has the largest population, it has more than 50% of forest elephants. But even in this region, you're seeing decreases in populations by 62% in one population, over 80% in the population in Gabon.
0:11:16.0 DC: And so, you're really seeing the forest elephants struggling, and a lot of that actually has to do with the habitat loss, but I think a big thing is people don't know that they even exist. So, people don't know there's even this species out there of an elephant, which is the largest terrestrial mammal and so charismatic, and so many people have images and ties to elephants in one way or the other, don't even realize there's this species called the forest elephant. And so, to give you some ideas of how they differ, because they do, there are morphological differences, there are ecological differences, and there's genetic differences.
0:11:56.3 DC: So, if we think about the savanna elephant, out of all three elephants, the savanna is the largest, and actually the forest elephant is the smallest. So, let's say, on average, a savanna elephant at the shoulder height is about 3.5 meters. The forest elephant, on average, at shoulder height is 2.5 meters. The forest elephant has much rounder ears, so it still has that iconic African continent shape ear, it doesn't look like the Asian triangle ear, but it's much more rounded. Their tusks are straighter, and they're more dense, and usually they have this pinkish-brownish hue to them, that's reflective of the minerals that they're eating.
0:12:39.5 DC: Savanna elephants, in terms of diet, they will browse, they will graze, so they're eating grasses, they're eating branches, they're eating leaves, they're eating bark, they're eating roots, and when it's available, they're eating fruits. For the forest elephant, their diet is primarily based off of the fruits in the forest. And I guess I should say the name is a big giveaway too. Forest elephants reside in forests in Central Africa, whereas savanna elephants have evolved to live in these open grasslands or wooded lands in Eastern and Southern Africa.
0:13:17.5 DC: And then something else that's really interesting about the forest elephant is their social system. So, elephants are really known to be these social elephants. The oldest female is typically the matriarch. She is this repository of ecological and social knowledge. She's the primary decision-maker, although she will take suggestions from others in the herd or the family, but she's the one that is this repository of information and typically is the oldest because they're accumulating knowledge as they get older. So, forest elephants aren't nearly as gregarious, so it's usually mom and her dependent offspring, and so it's much smaller herd sizes. So, whereas savanna elephants, you could see herds of 20, 30, 40, even 50 elephants aggregated at one time, you don't typically see that of forest elephants. It's much smaller group sizes.
0:14:17.0 DC: And there was this paper that just came out earlier this year that was really interesting, that hypothesized or posited that they doesn't even seem to have that same relationship between age and sociality with this matriarch, and one of the reasons... It's thought to be that is because they're not aggregating in such big numbers. So as the oldest daughter, or as the daughter gets older, she breaks off to have her own calf, particularly when her mom is now having her next calf, and so that's why you see these smaller numbers, but that's why you don't see that same relationship between age and sociality. That just came out this year. Super interesting.
0:15:01.6 DC: The thing about forest elephants is we know very little, so not only does the general public know a little bit about them, scientists studying elephants know very little about them as well, and a lot of the things we do know come just from a couple of well-studied populations. So, some things that we are extrapolating to the entire population of forest elephants may not be true. It may just be something that's special to that specific subpopulation in that area based off of their environment and ecological factors. And also, a lot of things we know about them come from observational studies in bais, and so bais are these natural clearings in Central Africa in the middle of forests, and the reason we know so much about them or we know so much based on the bais is because you could see the forest elephants.
0:15:48.9 DC: So, when I'm in the forest, there's times when I could go three weeks without seeing an elephant just because it's so dense, you don't have these open landscapes where eyesight can go miles, it's very thick vegetation. And as big as elephants are, they disappear so easily. They've got these special feet that let them tiptoe around, and they really do just blend in, and so much of what we know are from the bai. So, there's also this caveat. What we're seeing at the bais, how representative is that of forest elephant behavior, sociality, diet, everything when they're in the forest? So, it's two different environments, and so they're just really hard to study, which is one of the reasons we don't know nearly as much about them as we do about the savanna elephant.
0:16:42.3 KD: Right, and that was a very good lead-in. Thank you, Daniella, for your two studies. We were chatting ahead of the recording -you have one study we funded a couple of years ago, you have a new study obviously they're about forest elephants. So, start with your first study and what you were going to look at, and then we'll merge it into your second one, because as you mentioned, the second is really a spin-off of the first too.
0:17:10.7 DC: Yeah, yeah. So, one cool difference I haven't mentioned... Or I think it's cool, but clearly I'm biased, but hopefully other people will think it's cool. A difference between forest and savanna elephants appears to be the age that they have their first calf. So, most savanna and Asian elephants typically have their first calves around 11-14 years old, and then they typically have a new calf every three or four years. Forest elephants seem to be different from this, and again, this is based off of one population. They're from the Dzanga Bai in the Central African Republic. They've been studied... Probably longest, continuous study of forest populations, and so we don't know if this holds true for others, which was one of the things we were hoping to learn from this study, but they appear to have their first calves at 23 years of age.
0:18:03.0 DC: So that's almost like a decade later, and that has really big implications, especially when we're talking about poaching and population recovery. So, whereas, savanna elephants, to recover from population decreases, let's say it takes on average 25 years for a generation time, for forest elephants, it's 31 years for a generation time, so actually it takes them three times as long to recover from a same population decrease as it would for savanna elephants. And that's really big in terms of conservation strategy, and what we're thinking about for the future and policy for forest elephants.
0:18:40.0 DC: And so, I was really interested in why forest elephants appear to have their calves so much later in life, and is this specific to this one population, or is this the general life history strategy for forest elephants? So, forest elephants and savanna elephants appear to have the same... Similar lifespan, so that was one thing that I first thought of in terms of the strategy, but then I was just like, "Okay, well, could it be a nutritional thing? Could it be a stress thing? Could it be a sociality thing?" especially, as I mentioned, they have smaller herd sizes. So, do they wait longer to accumulate more knowledge to increase calf survival since they won't have let's say grandma or an aunt to help support a first-time mom, which is very important for savanna elephants? And then another thought was, is it human population and stress? That's where this project first went.
0:19:42.7 DC: So, the project was focused on two forest elephant populations. So, one in Uganda, and then one in the Republic of Congo. The one in the Republic of Congo is really special and unique. It's a collaboration with WCS, the Wildlife Conservation Society, because they've been studying the elephants there for about 15 years. So, they have identified over 500 elephants there. And there is a bai, a clearing. So, what that meant was, "Okay, this is awesome. I will be able to collect dung samples from an individual elephant that I can identify. So, I know who is giving me this sample. And then I can collect repeated samples from the same individual over time." And that's important, because one, I wanted to know, "Are these elephants also... Or are these elephants physiologically capable of reproducing at years of like 11 or 14 but are "choosing" to delay reproduction for another, let's say, roughly decade. And so, we can do that non-invasively using the dung, looking at the hormone progesterone. So that was one thing. And then the second was Central... Where we're at in Congo, there's not a lot of human activity. It's very remote. The forest is still pristine. And this is a very limited, undisturbed population. Comparatively, where we're working in Uganda, in Kibale National Park, it's like an island surrounded by humanized landscape, a lot of tea gardens and a lot of houses and things like that, so it's very disturbed.
0:21:36.5 DC: And so here was an opportunity to look at two different ends of the spectrum, with the thought that sadly and unfortunately, most of our wildlife populations are going to end up like Kibale, at more contact with humans compared to what Congo currently is. So, there's this opportunity to compare two different forest elephant populations and two different ends of the spectrum in terms of human activity and to see, "Okay, if Kibale is Congo's future, what does that look like for forest elephants?" And so, as I mentioned, everything was noninvasive, so everything relies on dung samples and a lot of hormones, particularly steroid hormones that are metabolized and then released in the dung, which allows us to look at this cumulative hormone concentration that's reflective of their gut transit time. So, whatever happened to them over the last 24 to 48 hours. And so, we started last year, and everything was going great until March rolled around and covid happened. And then everything stopped going so great. So, we were able to collect about two and a half months of data starting in Congo. And we do have repeated samples on a couple of elephants, but we had to stop short because of covid. And so right now, the samples we do have could help us start answering some of those questions.
0:23:11.1 DC: But unfortunately, we had to pause, things happened, now we need more funding because we just used a lot of our funding. And then now we have to start over. There's research programs, so timelines shift, and so now we're currently in a holding pattern for probably another year or so before we could resume in Congo. But we were able to continue in Uganda, and that was mainly in part because I already had a research team that was already trained to collect the samples and process the samples. And I didn't have to be there. And what's unique, and I didn't mention about where we're at in Uganda, is Uganda is one of the largest hybridization zone. So, it's really The Albertine Rift. It's the border between Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. And so, you have forest elephants and savanna elephants in this region, and they actually interbreed, and they have elephants that we call hybrids. And what's really interesting is hybrids are actually fertile. So, they can have their own babies and continue to reproduce. And there aren't many hybridization zones, this is the largest one. So, it's actually an IUCN priority site for elephant research because of this. If we know a little about forest elephants, we know even less about hybrid elephants.
0:24:40.4 DC: And so, when everything was happening with covid, in Uganda, because we can't see the elephants, I was working with a collaborator, Dr. Nelson Ting at the University of Oregon, who was going to run genetic analyses on those dung samples for us. So, my team there, they follow fresh elephant tracks, they look for fresh elephant dung, and then they collect samples from that dung for hormone analysis. But I needed to know, "Is that sample from a forest elephant? Is that sample from a savanna elephant, or is that sample from a hybrid elephant?" And we're able to determine that from a genetic sample. So, the team actually takes a swab to the outside of the elephant dung ball. And when it passes through for defecation, it takes some cells off the inside of the elephant. And that's where we can get the DNA from. And so, Nelson was going to already run analyses for me to tell me which are the forest elephants, and then I was only using those samples to compare it to our elephants in Congo.
0:25:40.6 DC: But now we're like, "Hey, we've got these samples... " And at the time, forest and savanna elephants were still one species. And we were like, "Here's data we can show them, showing differences and providing ICN and other governing bodies more data on differences or potentially, similarities between savanna and forest elephants." And it also would allow us to start looking at how many hybrid elephants there are. So, we don't know how many hybrids really there are. And that was a concern for ICN when creating two different species. Now, you're going to have hybrids that won't be afforded protection like a full species like the forest or savanna elephant will receive.
0:26:27.0 DC: So, the idea ended up being, we have this opportunity, we're already collecting samples, let's compare these hormonal profiles, this health profile of the forest elephant to the savanna elephant to the hybrid elephant, all living in the same national park, which is in a forested environment, and how do they differ, how do they... Do savanna elephants living in a forest, even though they evolved to live in a savanna, are they similar to a forest elephant that evolved to live in a forest? That's the idea, as human populations are continuing to grow and we're continuing to convert wild landscapes into agricultural land use or logging concessions and things like that, we are pushing elephants that wouldn't have normally interacted into the same space. What does that mean for conservation? Does forest elephant conservation strategies and policies reflect the same that should be used for the savanna elephant?
0:27:31.8 DC: Actually, we don't know, because currently all our conservation strategies and policies for forest elephants are actually based off of savanna elephants because they're more well studied, and we don't have that information yet for forest elephants. So, what this study is trying to do is collect those data to see, is it appropriate to use the same strategies for forest, savanna, and hybrid elephants? How are the land uses, how are the habitats reflecting, or how do they impact the health of these three different elephants? And really use that information to help us with future conservation planning and strategies.
0:28:14.7 DC: So that's this project, and we just actually finished collecting, at the end of August, our samples. I think we ended up with close to 450 dung samples collected all throughout the national park there in Uganda, so that's Kibale National Park, and now we're working on our export permit to get those samples back here to the US to start to analyze them for genetics, and then the different hormones that are of interest to us. So, I'm super excited. To my knowledge, there's no published data on hybrid physiology. The data that's published on forest elephants in terms of physiology is just glucocorticoids, so it's the metabolated cortisol, so like the stress biomarker. And we're looking at a few other ones.
0:29:05.5 DC: Again, to my knowledge, I don't think anyone has compared forest to savanna to hybrid all living in the same ecosystem in the same national park, and so I think what we're doing is super cool. It has real big potential implications on policy, also how we're viewing these elephants, and so I'm just super excited. I don't think I've been as excited as I currently am to see the results from a study, and I'm just like itching, waiting, or I actually just got off the phone with the USDA this morning, sorting out our permits to get these samples back here. So, I'm hoping by the end of the month, we'll have our samples and then we'll start our analysis. So, by maybe the end of the first quarter of next year, we'll start to have some things to start to write up and see how things shake out.
0:30:03.0 KD: That's really, really so cool. I think it's going to be some great information, and I wanted to ask you then, what do you think you're going to do next, or where are you looking at? You talked a little bit about your hopes for outcomes as far as policy, but what else do you think your outcomes might direct you toward? Or where are you interested in next?
0:30:24.7 DC: Yeah, yes. So, I've actually been having a lot of those thoughts in my head, trying to pare it down a little bit because I get so excited. I'm like, "Oh, well, then there's this and then there's this." And trying to make sure that I stay focused. So, one of the ideas that we had, we know that elephants in Kibale, which is the forested ecosystem there, we know that they have ranging patterns into Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is south of it, and that's a savanna. We know that they go back and forth between them. We know that forest elephants from the Democratic Republic of Congo go into the forests of Kibale and in Uganda, and so there's this big movement pattern. So, we started here in Kibale, and one of the main reasons we started there was because I already had the study going between Kibale and Congo.
0:31:23.2 DC: So, one of the next things that I'm interested in is doing the same sampling pattern, but in Queen Elizabeth, to see, "Okay, now we have forest elephants living in a savanna ecosystem. How is that compared to how savanna elephants are living in a forest ecosystem?" So again, looking at this mismatch between the environment the species evolved to live in and where they're actually living. So that's one idea, but really, there's so much that we don't know about forests and hybrid elephants, you could pretty much come up with your question and you still need to ask it. So, I'm still really interested in this reproductive side because that has big implications on recovery rates and fitness.
0:32:13.8 DC: So, looking at things about hybridization. So, we don't know if hybridization is good or bad for elephants at all, and hybridization is known in other species. Sometimes, it has adaptive qualities that are beneficial for the species and help them to evolve; other times it has poor reproductive implications, poor effects on fitness, and these deleterious effects. But what does hybridization mean for elephants? We don't know. We know that hybridization goes both ways, so savanna male elephants breed with forest females, and forest male elephants breed with savanna females.
0:32:55.0 DC: But we don't know what that actually means on the health or the reproduction and fitness of the future elephant. Are these populations going to continue to grow quite possibly as we continue to minimize their natural landscapes and have a lot more interactions between them? And then understanding what that has for future populations, implications for the future elephant populations in that area. So, I'm really interested in that perspective, especially because they've received so little attention. I'm interested in trying to really understand the reproduction with the forest elephants. And we started looking at it from this stress and human side of it. More and more, I'm wondering if it's the social aspect when looking at that or is it a nutritional aspect because of the fruits. And even though fruit in and by itself has more sugar and is more nutrient-dense than let's say eating bark, because of climate change, fruiting patterns have severely shifted. And so, you see certain populations where the body commission of the elephants has deteriorated because of this. And so, what are those impacts also? If you don't have enough energy for maintenance and growth, will you have enough energy to divert into reproduction, things like that? There's just so many different questions to go, but ultimately, at the end of the day, I really want my research to have an impact on the future of elephants.
0:34:36.3 DC: So, a lot of the things are interesting to learn, but I want it to have this implication on policy and being used to help us understand what land we should be using for what purposes? Where should or how should we have wildlife quarters connecting these different natural habitats so these elephants can continue to move about and get to the food that they need or the water sources they need? So, the resources. So really, at the end of the day, I want to make sure that what I'm doing has actual benefits for the elephant populations as a whole so that we don't only get to learn about forest elephants and know that they exist, but the next generation gets to know that forest elephants exist as well. So that's my hope. We'll just keep trucking along and see what the results give us. And then based on what the results say, use that for policy and strategy use.
0:35:42.8 KD: To wrap up, what is your take-home message? You just talked about it, but if you had to give one message to people who are listening, which are a combination of veterinarians and donors and vet students, what would it be?
0:35:55.2 DC: That even though we don't live in range countries that have elephants, what we do here does have an impact on them there. And that's both in terms of knowledge and in terms of your actions. So what products are you buying? So, paying attention to palm oil. So, palm oil is one of the biggest reasons that we have such habitat loss for Asian elephants. And also, your paper products, deforestation, and logging. So that has implications on our forest elephants. So, paying attention to the products you're buying, where they're coming from, is it being done sustainably or not? There are some really cool apps out there. I'm forgetting the name right now. One of them's through Zoo, but I'm forgetting, but there are some apps that you can use that look at palm oil and things like that. And then also the knowledge part.
0:36:55.9 DC: So, one of the reasons that poaching was able to get curbed quite a bit was because there was this international awareness and push on the international community to stop poaching. And that is through social media, that's through talking, that's through all these different ways, even sending letters to our governmental representatives. Because even though at the time, and I think still presently, China was the number-one country bringing ivory in. Actually, the US was number two at the time. So, we still have a lot of ivory that's coming into the US, at least at the peak of poaching. So, talking to and writing to your state representatives that this is an important matter to you.
0:37:48.1 DC: And looking into forest elephants and talking about forest elephants, because all this went on for savanna elephants, but wait, the forest elephants haven't gotten that same attention. And we need to generate attention for them, so we know that they're being talked about, people realize this species exists, and that they're in a very critical time point. There's probably 50,000 forest elephants or less right now. And habitat loss is continuously happening. So, talking about them. Telling people like, "Hey, did you know that there's this thing called the forest elephant? Google them. Take a look at them. Maybe we could post some photos somewhere or something like showing the differences between savanna and forest elephants, I don't know." But just see like, "Hey, look at this elephant. It's a forest elephant. I had no idea it existed." And telling your friend what it is you just learned about them. And sharing that knowledge, I think is very important.
0:38:44.1 KD: Well, that's awesome. Well, that does it for us. That's another episode of Fresh Scoop. And thanks again to Daniella Chusyd for joining us today. Thanks, Daniella. It's great to hear about this. And your enthusiasm is awesome.
0:38:58.9 DC: Thank you.
0:39:00.0 DC: Good luck.
0:39:01.4 DC: Thank you.
0:39:02.4 KD: Good luck. So, for everyone else, we'll be back with another episode next month that we hope you'll find just as informative. And as Daniella just told us, the science of animal health changes. We just got a new species of elephant. Pretty cool. And all of us need cutting-edge knowledge to give, for veterinarians, their patients, and for the rest of us, just to know about the animals we share the planet with. And that's why we're here. You can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher. And if you liked today's episode, of course, we'd sure appreciate it if you could take a moment to rate us. Because that will help others find our podcast. And as always, to learn more about Morris Animal Foundation's work, go to morrisanimalfoundation.org. And there you'll see just how we bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals everywhere. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I'm Dr. Kelly Diehl, and we'll talk soon.