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There are an estimated 6 million calories in an elephant - enough energy
to keep a human sated for over eight years. But at the Tsavo West
National Park in Kenya, it took wild animals just seven days to reduce a
dead elephant to nothing more than a pile of bones (see video).
remarkable footage was generated as part of a Channel 4 documentary
investigating what happens when an elephant dies in its natural
The research team behind the programme were
interested in the animals that feed off the remains. They captured video
of vultures, hyenas, leopards and insects working away at the carcass
day and night. The footage also revealed unexpected and worrying
imbalances in the food chain - notably that the number of vultures in
Kenya is declining.
The film crew got the opportunity to film the
decomposing elephant when a young adult male was put down by a vet
after ivory poachers left it mortally wounded. To simulate a kill and
attract scavengers to the carcass, they projected sounds of lions
attacking an elephant. Then they filmed the events from a camouflaged
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