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Contact: Morgan Kelly, Princeton Office of Communications
Princeton University

Elephants Eating Solanum

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Caption: A five-year study led by Robert Pringle, a Princeton University assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, suggests that certain wild African animals, particularly elephants, could be a boon to human-raised livestock because of their voracious appetite for the toxic and invasive plant Solanum campylacanthum, or the Sodom apple. Although the plant is toxic to grazing animals such as sheep and cattle, 'browsers' such as elephants and impalas are unaffected by the plant's poison. Just as the governments of nations such as Kenya prepare to pour millions into eradicating the plant, the Princeton findings present a method for controlling the Sodom apple that is cost-effective for humans and beneficial for the survival of African elephants.

Credit: Video courtesy of Robert Pringle, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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Related news release: Africa's poison 'apple' provides common ground for saving elephants, raising livestock

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