More Elephants and Rhinos Too [S-20-35]

Presenter:John McDonald
Location: SUNY Potsdam: Kellas 105
Classes: 2 Sessions 1.5 hours
Dates: Thu 2:30 PM 05/07, 05/14

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In part one of this course, we focused on the evolution, history, physical characteristics, environment and social behavior of elephants. In this course, we will focus on the continuing threats to both the Asian and African elephants from poaching and the increased demand for ivory, which has resulted in significant declines in wild elephant populations. As an example, between 2006 and 2016 the wild elephant population in Africa declined by 30 % or 111,000 individuals. We will also discuss the evolution, history, physical characteristics, environment, and social behavior of rhinos. They, too, face serious threats from poaching to acquire their horns, which are believed to provide significant medicinal benefits in traditional Asian medicine. One of the casualties of these beliefs was the extinction of the wild Northern White Rhino in 2018.

John McDonald retired from IBM and Arrow Electronics. He has had a lifelong interest in Africa and its wildlife. While in college, he worked in primate research; after that he spent time with Dave Hoover, the lion and tiger trainer for the Clyde Beatty and Cole Bros. Circus. John corresponded with George Adamson of “Born Free” fame and was offered the opportunity to conduct field research on Adamson’s lion in Kenya. After retiring, over a three-year period, John spent time in Namibia observing wild elephants and rhinos in Etosha National Park as well as working with rhino researchers in a private reserve in Namibia.

NOTE: John received the Leon LeBeau SOARing Educator Award in Fall 2019.

Cap: 205

Cap: 205

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