Anyone looking for water in the desert should bring a donkey or a horse. Or even better: an elephant. This can be deduced at least from scientific research recently published in the specialized journal “Science”. It has appeared. In it, an international team of researchers examined the influence of large animals on ecosystems. And here it is: Sooner or later, said species dig for water in very dry areas, which benefit small creatures.
In North America, where the team’s observations were made, everything works only with horses and wild donkeys. But these pits reliably dug “wells” up to two meters deep in the soil of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, USA, as the images taken from the camera traps showed. This would have greatly increased the number of watering holes for the ungulates and made it easier for other animals to survive.
The behavior of certain species in Asia and Africa has long been known. Elephants, goats, and zebras also seek groundwater there if they must. In the authors’ view, this is a long-neglected form of landscape conservation that can help conserve ecosystems in dry spells. But only if the large wild animals did not completely disappear: as is known, their number has decreased sharply over the past millennia.