- Research: Further develop and populate the Elephant Calls Database (ECD).
ECD is an ElephantVoices internal database built in Claris FileMaker Pro currently housing approximately 7,500 records of recorded elephant calls from known individuals in known contexts. Each record is populated with close to 100 fields, including field-notes, metadata, and measurements. We have a further 5,000 or so records to add from additional recordings from Amboseli and Gorongosa, which is a time-consuming effort.
We are currently working with several other scientists to analyze these data, with several papers already published and more in preparation. We will engage an assistant during second half of 2023 to help with database population, acoustic measurements, sound file and spectrogram-creation, to prepare for AI-based analysis and other collaborative research.
- Research: Utilize The Elephant Ethogram as a basis for the further study of elephant culture, behavior and communication.
This unique and fully searchable online database documents some 322 African elephant Behaviors and 103 Behavioral Constellations with written descriptions, educational video clips from the wild (2400+ with detailed captions), audio with spectrograms (around 250 field recordings) and hundreds of photographs. We will be using the contents of The Elephant Ethogram in several ongoing studies.
The continued broad interest in The Elephant Ethogram highlights the fascination the public has with elephant behavior and communication and the role our research and education via The Elephant Ethogram can have in promoting conservation awareness. You will find some of the global media coverage after the launch at the bottom of the Introduction page.
- Research: Collaborate with the Earth Species Project and The Elephant Listening Project (ELP) using AI to classify African Savanna elephant calls and to compare them with African Forest elephants.
Our co-authored publication with ELP, “Does social complexity drive vocal complexity - insights from the two African elephant species,” published in late October 2021, was a first look at the similarities and differences between the two species.
- Research: Collaborate with Mickey Pardo, University of Colorado and Save the Elephants using Machine Learning to examine on elephant conservation, communication, behavior and culture.
- Research: Write and publish two additional papers on the Gorongosa elephants. One, A culture of aggression: The Gorongosa elephants’ enduring legacy of war, will explore the lasting impacts of war in relation to patterns of both elephant fear and aggression toward humans and the role that culture has played in behaviour that has persisted over time and generations. The second, Promoting positive interactions with the traumatised elephants of Gorongosa National Park will document the approach we used in our efforts to calm the Gorongosa elephants.
- Education: Contribute our knowledge and data to educational institutions and the media to reach a global audience.
We will continue to offer advice, sounds and images from our archives, to selected high-impact documentary films and educational and media institutions, to broaden interest in elephants and educate the public about their natural behavior and protection of their habitats.
- Education: Disseminate science-based education and science-telling via ElephantVoices’ social media channels, ElephantVoices.org and external media, partly based on annotated video clips from The Elephant Ethogram.
Since the launch of The Elephant Ethogram in May 2021 quite a few of our posts on Facebook/Instagram have gone viral, some reaching millions of people. ElephantVoices has around 400,000 followers on social media. We intend to increase ElephantVoices' capacity for outreach via social media during second half of 2023.
ElephantVoices' Joyce Poole is scientific advisor for Disney/National Geographic’s four part series Secrets of the Elephants. She has edited and inserted elephant voices from ElephantVoices' collection for the African Savanna and Desert episodes, and is on-screen in the Savanna episode. The series will premiere on National Geographic, Disney+ and Hulu in April 2023.
- Conservation: Continue to advocate for elephants against the ivory trade, trophy hunting, and the capture of elephants for captivity, in collaboration with our colleagues.
As an elephant expert Joyce Poole is a member of the African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG) of the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN and contributes time to the development of policies to conserve and protect elephants. All of our work has the conservation of elephants and conservation awareness at its core.
- Advocacy: Provide science-based advice, statements and affidavits on selected elephant conservation issues and welfare cases.
ElephantVoices has contributed numerous affidavits and statements for elephants in legal cases, with the goal of improving the conditions for the elephants in question whether in the wild or in captivity, a release back to the wild or to sanctuary or for the purpose of stopping capture and export of elephants from the wild to a life in captivity. ElephantVoices' Dr. Joyce Poole has over many years been a expert witness in the scientific, ongoing case for non-human rights for elephants. Such efforts will continue, and are on a case-by-case basis always prioritised. Read about the case for non-human rights for elephants in this article in The Atlantic from 16 November 2021.
- Advocacy: Continue to work with Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSfE, US non-profit) and Elephant Sanctuary Brazil (ESB, Brazilian non-profit) as Co-Founders and Partners.
In 2010, together with a Brazilian partner, ElephantVoices began working toward establishing an elephant sanctuary in Brazil. In 2013 we invited Scott and Kat Blais to take the lead. Poole and Granli have been active board members of, respectively, GSfE and ESB since their inception.