• ElephantVoices eNewsletter August 2017 - Say Hello in Elephant!

    Dear Friend of ElephantVoices,

    For the first time you can Speak Elephant with your friends. You can share your message in a pretty cool way:-).

    Together with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, we’re launching Say Hello in Elephant to raise awareness and to showcase elephant communication. Our goal is to reach far and wide - during World Elephant Day, 12th August, and beyond.

    In the press release about this campaign ElephantVoices’ Joyce Poole states: "Elephants are awe-inspiring and every moment in their company brings joy. Unlocking their rich emotive communication and gaining deeper insight into their world is fascinating. Yet, elephants and their habitats are under assault, and we urgently need to change hearts and minds.”

    Say Hello in Elephant provides a little window into the complex communication of elephants. If you want to learn more, check out our elephant calls database. We are currently working on a major expansion of all our elephant behavior databases, and look forward to show you more during the coming year.

    More than ever we need your help to inspire people to do their utmost to stop the ivory trade and to ensure a future with space for elephants. Please consider supporting the work of

  • Field visit – focus on HEC mitigation project

    ElephantVoices’ Petter Granli visited Kenya from 23. August to 5. September 2005. The main purpose this time was to work with the ongoing project’ "Mitigating human-elephant conflict in the Amboseli Ecosystem", executed in close collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service and School for Management Studies in Kimana.

    During his stay Petter and the Kenyan HEC team Winnie Kiruu and John Kioko met with Dr. Michelle Gadd and Dr. Herb Raffaele from US Fish and Wildlife, which together with Born Free Foundation and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) are the major project sponsors. Their meeting took place in Amboseli, where visits to test sites in Loitokitok and Kimana were included in the program. The visitors met enthusiastic representatives from the local communities involved as enumerators and vigilante groups in the project. The main goal for the project is to develop efficient tools and methods that local farmers can use to keep elephants away from their crops. Joyce is in Kenya/Amboseli from 11. to 29 September.

    1. More and more farms gives less habitat for elephants and other wildlife, one main reason for the increased number of conflicts. 2. Project manager Winnie Kiruu and Petter Granli discussing by the Born Free project

  • Gorongosa Elephant Project

    Joyce Poole and Petter Granli after a calm interaction with the Mabenzi family. Photo: Jason Denlinger. In 2011 the Gorongosa Restoration Project (GRP) invited ElephantVoices to assess the Gorongosa elephant population, and to initiate a long-term elephant monitoring and conservation project. In October 2012 we began studying the Gorongosa elephants in earnest, and we continue to travel to Mozambique for a month or two each year. (Want to find Gorongosa on the map?)

    Back in 1969 Gorongosa National Park was home to over 2200 elephants. Between 1977 and 1992 civil conflict in the country took the lives of most of these individuals. Elephant meat was used to feed soldiers and ivory was sold for the purchase of arms and ammunition. By the time peace was restored it was estimated that less than 200 individuals remained alive.

    Thanks to intervention by the Mozambican Government and the GRP, today (end 2017) we estimate there to be over 800 elephants in Gorongosa, and their numbers are gradually increasing. Yet, the survivors haven't forgotten their gruesome experiences. They are still wary of people and they continue to avoid large areas of the national park. Read more about the Gorongosa elephants here.

    Our objectives

    Our work aims to document the status of the Gorongosa elephants, to better understand the long-lasting physical and behavioral scars

  • Press release: Conservationists urge the EU - the biggest exporter of so-called "old" ivory - to ban all ivory trade



    Conservationists urge the EU - the biggest exporter of so-called “old” ivory – to ban all ivory trade

    Brussels/2 June 2014. On the eve of inter-governmental meetings in Brussels and Geneva in June and July to debate the fate of elephants, a group of conservation organisations requests all EU governments to urgently halt all commerce in ivory and to destroy all remaining stockpiles. New data shows escalating exports of ivory from the European Union to China and worldwide. The organisations warn that any legal loophole in ivory trade creates the opportunity to launder poached ivory into “legal” trade and thus fuels the killing of elephants.

    "Weak European laws on ivory trading are a clear and present danger to Africa’s elephants, and a gift to poachers and smugglers who feed almost limitless demand for ivory in East Asia", says Daniela Freyer of Pro Wildlife.

    Mary Rice, of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), added: "We are calling on EU countries to halt all ivory trade within, to and from the EU and strengthen enforcement. This includes measures to destroy their stockpiled ivory – both carvings and raw tusks - irrespective of

  • Press release: Experts around the world oppose import of Swaziland elephants to the US


    Press release published 26 October 2015:

    Elephant Experts From Around the World Oppose Proposed Import of 18 Elephants
    from Swaziland to Zoos in Texas, Nebraska and Kansas

    “The capture and removal of wild elephants from their home ranges and social groups is appalling and archaic, and the threat to kill elephants unless permits are issued is beyond unethical.”

    Dr. Joyce Poole

    Washington D.C., October 26, 2015 -- More than 75 elephant experts from across the globe have joined together today to announce their outrage and opposition to the proposed import of 18 elephants from Swaziland by the Dallas Zoo in Texas; Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska; and Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. The zoos’ request for a permit to import these elephants has just been published in the U.S. Federal Register and is open to public comment. (Download Expert Statement, 750 kB)

    “The capture and removal of wild elephants from their home ranges and social groups is appalling and archaic, and the threat to kill elephants unless permits are issued is beyond unethical,” stated Dr. Joyce Poole, Co-founder of ElephantVoices, a world expert on elephant social behavior and communication who has been studying and working to conserve elephants for

  • The Gorongosa Elephants

    The behavior of the Gorongosa elephants is strongly influenced by their fear of people, which was shaped by their experiences during Mozambique's civil conflict. Apprehension also has an impact on their use of habitat. The Gorongosa elephants are careful to avoid open areas during daylight, and they tend not to visit places where they feel vulnerable until nightfall. They avoid coming out of the forest onto the Urema floodplain until very late afternoon, and move rapidly away from vehicles if caught in the open. Provocadora and family members in dense Gorongosa habitat. ©ElephantVoices.In populations where elephants feel safe, they prefer to visit rivers and waterholes during the heat of the day. But, the images coming in from our motion triggered cameras show us that Gorongosa's elephants almost never come to the Pungue River during daylight and, even at night, they approach the river bank with caution. They sniff around and listen before descending the bank; and easily become frightened, running back up and into the forest, with their tails in the air. 

    The irony is that, relative to other populations, elephants are safe in Gorongosa. The trouble is that due to their long-term memories and cultural transmission of behavior, they don't yet feel safe. Our vision is a Gorongosa National Park

  • Zimbabwe's sad role in global elephant business

    Zimbabwe is probably responsible for more African elephants suffering in zoos and circuses around the world than any other single country. The American Zoological Association elephant “studbook” shows that fully 25% of the living elephants in the United States originate from Zimbabwe.

    In addition, a large number of elephants in that studbook are simply listed as coming from Africa – and some of these are known to come from Zimbabwe, too. Many of the elephants shipped to zoos have already died – some died even before they could be accounted for. In one shipment 63 baby elephants whose mothers and families had been killed in a culling operation were shipped to the US in a Boeing 747. Of these, 14 babies died within weeks of arrival and were never entered in the “studbook.”

    Zimbabwean elephants have ended up all over the world and most have suffered a fate even worse than those shipped to the United States. Shubhobroto Ghosh, co-author of The Indian Zoo Inquiry(1.14 MB), describes in this synopsis (1.36 MB) the fortunes of African elephants in Indian Zoos and in particular a pair from Zimbabwe that were given in 1998 as a diplomatic gift to the