Scores Of Elephants Were Massacred In Botswana After An Anti-Poaching Team Was Disarmed
Although it's hard to hate nature's gentlest giants, it gets a lot easier if you A) want to make serious cash and B) have absolutely no moral qualms about how to do it. Poaching has become such a problem nowadays that in some parts of Africa, anti-poaching units -- teams of guys who sit around all day and babysit elephants like they're kings and queens -- are a necessity. A prime example of why is one massacre that recently occurred in Botswana.
As the proud owner of the world's largest elephant population, Botswana has a huge problem with poachers breaching its borders in order to get at that ivory. Fortunately for the elephants, these poachers were always thwarted by their armed escorts. Unfortunately for the elephants, those would be the armed escorts that, earlier this year, were disarmed on the orders of the president.
According to Elephants Without Borders, a conversation group that monitors local elephant populations via plane, soon after the well-publicized disarmament, the carcasses of over 90 elephants were found near a wildlife sanctuary. Oops.
Related: 5 Ways Saving Wildlife Has Turned Into All-Out Warfare
One Of The Most Important Museums In The Americas Burnt Down
A dirty old man once said that if it's an important archaeological artifact, "It belongs in a museum." He should have added, "And make sure that museum has, like, even one working fire extinguisher. Seriously."
That would've lessened the amount of shit that got destroyed when Brazil's National Museum burnt down earlier this year.
Buda Mendes/Getty ImagesWe're no museum curators, but this seems like a less-than-ideal way to preserve priceless artifacts.
The museum was one of the largest in the Americas, and contained over 20 million items, including one of the oldest human fossils in the Western Hemisphere. It's not yet known what caused the fire, but that's a pretty insignificant part of the story, considering that the museum was beset with structural and financial problems which meant, among other things, that it had no operational sprinkler system.
Related: 5 Priceless Works Of Art Destroyed By Unintentional Hilarity
The "World's Largest Organism" Is Dying
Before you ask: No, we're not talking your momma. (Not this time.)
In Utah's Fishlake National Forest, there's a mini-forest of aspen trees known as the Trembling Giant. While the trees might look like rugged wood-going individualists, they are in fact all connected by a single root system, which means the whole grove is a single organism, named Pando.
Pando is rather rough and tumble, having survived 80,000 years and counting. However, there was no surviving an encounter with a pesky parasite called human beings. According to scientists, Pando has stopped reproducing. Not because his, um, wood needs a little extra spring in its step, but because local farmers have been using the nearby woodlands to raise deer and cattle, which have been eating the grove's saplings. When scientists had a dig around Pando's whole 100+ acres, they couldn't find a single sapling that hadn't been mauled.
But as we mentioned, it probably doesn't matter, since that tree's ass will probably die in one of the million upcoming forest fires anyway.
Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter dedicated to depressing history facts. It's not as heartbreakingly sad as it sounds, promise!
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