ElephantVoices Joyce and Petter documenting elephant behavior in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. (©ElephantVoices)

  • Research: Continue to populate the Elephant Calls Database (ECD).
    ECD is an ElephantVoices internal database built in Claris FileMaker Pro currently housing approximately 9,600 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 2,400 or so records to add from additional recordings from Amboseli and Gorongosa, which is a time-consuming task.

    We continue to work with other scientists to analyze these data, with several papers already published and more in preparation. Our Communications Manager will assist with database population, acoustic measurements, sound file and spectrogram-creation, to prepare for upcoming 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. The contents of The Elephant Ethogram is being used 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.

    The launch of the Elephant Ethogram was covered in a big article on the front page of New York Times' Science section in May 2021. The Screenshot is from the online version (©ElephantVoices) published a few days later.

  • Research: Collaborate with Mickey Pardo at University of Colorado and Save the Elephants to study elephant acoustic communication.
    Our collections of elephant vocalizations have contributed toward two papers that will soon be published: One uses AI to examine communication between known callers and receivers and reveals that elephants have “nicknames” for one another. The second uses AI to examine population level and social group divergence in acoustic structure of rumble vocalisations.

  • Research: Collaborate with Sara Keen at the Earth Species Project and Daniela Hedwig to study elephant acoustic communication.
    Keen will use AI to examine vocalizations held in our database to see whether a) the structure of African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) calls clusters by behavioral context; b) compare our African savanna calls with African forest elephant (L. cyclotis) calls held by the Elephant Listening Project; c) compare the number of clusters in each species to see whether this might be linked to social complexity of the species (African savanna elephants have a more complex social structure than do African forest elephants).

  • Research: Collaborative research with Dr. Lucy Bates: We are participating in two publications of elephants that rely in part on data held in The Elephant Ethogram, our video collection and our our long-term observations. These are 1) a study that looks at cultural differences between populations of elephants and 2) a chapter for a book that summarises the state-of-knowledge on elephant pointing for an edited book on pointing in humans and animals.

  • Research: Contribute a chapter on elephants to a book on humor in animals.

  • 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. We engaged a Communications Manager in September 2023 and during 2024 aim to increase our following on social media to over 420,000. 

    ElephantVoices regularly advises documentary films on elephant behaviour and this year we will be working closely with a film production for PBS Nature that is focusing on the lives of male elephants.

  • 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.

  • Conservation: Put a stop to killing of large adult males from the Amboseli population in hunting block in Tanzania.
    In late 2023, two of Amboseli's large adult males were shot by trophy hunters when they crossed the international border into Tanzania, breaking a 30-year moratorium that protected this population. We will be working closely with our Kenyan colleagues to put a stop to this killing.

  • 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 will be prioritised on a case-by-case basis. 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. Granli will be visiting the Sanctuary again in early March 2024.