Elephants are gardeners of the Malaysian rainforest

MEME is studying elephant populations in the Belum-Temenggor rainforest of northern Perak. Photos: MEME

It is fair to say that elephants are the gardeners of Malaysian forests. They spend most of their time eating, moving somewhere else (to eat some more), and defecating.

When elephants eat, they prune the vegetation, increasing ecological complexity and facilitating the existence of other species. For example, when elephants eat, they create little gaps for new plants to grow, leave behind a mess of broken branches and leaves on which smaller animals feed, and create crevices used by small animals to live.

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