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Animal behaviour: Leading the young: older male elephants prove they are "up to the tusk!"

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Journal: Scientific Reports Male elephants socialising along the Boteti River. Credit: Connie Allen. Older male elephants may have important roles to play as experienced leaders to younger males when navigating unknown or risky environments, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.  In long-lived species, such as elephants and whales, older individuals often respond more appropriately to complex, changing environments, which may benefit younger group members. However, research in this area has tended to focus on females. Connie Allen and colleagues investigated grouping behaviour and patterns of leadership in 1,264 male African savannah elephants travelling on elephant pathways to and from the Boteti River in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park (MPNP), Botswana.  Male African elephants congregate along hotspots of social activity on the Boteti River. Credit: Connie Allen. The authors found that lone elephants accounted for 20.8% (263 elephants) of sightings