Elephant calves with elder sisters have a better chance of surviving.

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Elephant calves with elder sisters have a better chance of surviving.

Only children may face discrimination, but growing up without siblings isn’t necessarily bad for people. Elephants, on the other hand, are a different story.

Young elephants that grew up with older siblings had greater survival rates and reproduced at a younger age than calves who grew up without siblings, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

Females reared by elder sisters had greater long-term survival rates and reproduced two years younger on average.

Elephants who start breeding sooner have more progeny over the course of their lifetime.

Male calves raised with older sisters had slightly lower survival rates than male calves raised with older brothers. Male elephant calves with older sisters, on the other hand, had a higher body weight.

The “live-fast, die-young” phenomenon, according to researchers, may explain the disparity, since male elephants who mature faster may forfeit long-term health.

In a press release, lead study author Vérane Berger, a researcher at the University of Turku in Finland, said, “Our research confirms that sibling relationships shape individual lives, particularly in social species like elephants, where cooperative behaviors are essential to individual development, survival, and reproductive potential.”

It’s nearly challenging to research the long-term behavior and health effects of siblings when studying wild elephants over lengthy periods of time.

Researchers looked at semi-captive timber elephants in Myanmar for the new study.

The elephants are used as work animals during the day. Elephants are used to pull plows and move products by the locals, who ride them. The elephants are left alone in the wild at night.

Semi-captive elephants mate with both wild and tame elephants and socialize with them. Calves are nurtured for five years by their moms before being educated for employment by the locals.

The Myanmar Timber Enterprise has imposed restrictions on the types and amount of work that elephants can perform.

According to research co-author Mirkka Lahdenperä, “because the elephants live in their natural environments, they have many parallels to wild elephants, such as natural foraging and no assistance in breeding.”

“While there are differences – family groupings in the wild are likely to be larger – there are more parallels than differences, and we may expect that some of the relationships discovered in our study would… Article Summary from Nokia News

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