Animal welfare in India: Elephants and Plastic

An Asian elephant family at Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, India. Abhishek Mittal / iStock / Getty Images (from the EcoWatch post cited below)

Plastic waste is a problem around the world. This story from EcoWatch shows how it is affecting our most iconic wildlife as well as humans:

In a new study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation, titled “Plastic ingestion in Asian elephants in the forested landscapes of Uttarakhand, India,” a team of scientists collected dung samples from inside and around forested areas in Uttarakhand, India, and found that the endangered Asian elephants there had been ingesting human garbage, including plastics.

“Each human-derived item was identified, measured, and sub-categorized into plastic or other anthropogenic waste. About one-third (32%) of the elephant dung samples showed presence of anthropogenic waste,” the study said.

Elephants disperse seeds through their dung, but when their food supply is contaminated with plastic, this natural process transports the ubiquitous and damaging pollutant into wild spaces, endangering the health of the elephants and their forest companions, reported The New York Times.

Read the full story here.