• Acoustic communication


    Acoustic (that is, sound) signals are omni directional (i.e. they travel in all directions) and can be broadcast to a large audience of intended and unintended listeners, including those in view and those hidden from view. Being short-lived and deliberate, acoustic signals are useful for giving information about an immediate situation, rather than about a constant state. Through reflection, refraction and absorption, acoustic signals are degraded by the environment in ways that are often very much greater for high frequency sounds than for very low frequency sounds. Elephants are specialists in the production of low frequency sound and in the use of long-distance communication. Check out some good examples on acoustic communication by elephants in article "What Elephant Calls Mean: A User's Guide" published by National Geographic in 2014, based on the work of ElephantVoices.

    The range of sounds elephants produce

    Erin vocalizes after mating with Ed. (©ElephantVoices)African elephants produce a broad range of sounds from very low frequency Rumbles to higher frequency Snorts, Barks, Roars, Cries and other idiosyncratic sounds. The most frequently used type of call is the very low frequency Rumble. You can search for, listen to and read about numerous calls and other sounds made by elephants on The Elephant Ethogram: A

  • ElephantVoices education

    "In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand.
    We will understand only what we are taught."

    Baba Dioum, Senegalese environmentalist, addressing the General Assembly of IUCN, 1968.

    We approach our elephant work in the same spirit as Baba Dioum. Our endeavor to protect elephants is inspired by love and deep respect for them as a species and as individuals, which, in turn, is based on our understanding of them gained through long-term study.

    To protect the lives of elephants and to sustain the beauty of the places they live, we must inspire others to feel likewise. Therefore, education, the sharing of knowledge, underpins all that we do.

    We give lectures, speak to school kids, exchange emails with students, disseminate information through our website, news blog, databases and via documentaries and publications and by being available for the media.

    Our online collections of elephant sounds, gestures, and behaviors, form a unique resource that we hope will be of value to everyone visiting ElephantVoices. The same goes for the other databases and information made available.

    You'll find us on different Social Media through the links on the top right.

    The short film below

  • 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

  • ElephantVoices eNewsletter November 2015

    Did you know… that this posture is called Standing-Tall? When elephants threaten adversaries, they draw themselves up to their full height, spread their ears wide and look down over their big noses at their perceived foes. In this case it was us. Please consider including ElephantVoices in your Year End giving - you can read more about what we need your support for below.

    Dear Elephant Friend,

    From the tranquil edge of the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, the vast expanse of Africa before us and the sun shining on a land blessed with recent rain, it is hard to comprehend the dreadful events that are affecting so many people around the world. In these troubled times we hope for peace and wish you a Thanksgiving and holiday season surrounded by family and friends.

    2015 marks the fifth year that ElephantVoices has been engaged in elephant conservation in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. Our databases now hold thousands of geospatial records on over 1,200 individually recognized adult elephants from across the ecosystem. It is has been a period of tremendous and tumultuous change in the Mara, which is reflected in a report we have written in collaboration with colleagues entitled, Mara ecosystem connectivity: Information

  • 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

  • Joyce's Gorongosa Snippet 10 May 2015

    {jcomments off}{jcomments on}Through ElephantVoices on Facebook we mentioned that Joyce will be working in Gorongosa for a couple of weeks. Below is a first Snippet from the field. She will try to update you in the days to come.

    Bicycle shop Beira, Mozambique. Photo: ElephantVoicesThe journey from Sandefjord to Gorongosa was two days long - waking up at 04:15 for Petter to take me to the airport on 8th May and arriving at the park at 18:30 on 9th May, and a night spent in a Johannesburg Hotel. I was met at the Beira Airport, along the coast of Mozambique by wonderful, warm, Vasco Galante, Communications Director for the Gorongosa Restoration Project. Vasco was in Beira for other reasons and offered to pick me up - along with an old, spray-painted, steely-blue bicycle. More about the bicycle later.

    One reason for the potholes is that in the 18 months since I was last here the timber trade has exploded. It was pretty terrible then and is now completely horrifying. Vasco said he passed at least 100 flatbed trucks loaded with the carcasses of massive hardwood trees. One after another they came lumbering down the road with their dreadful cargo bound for China; depots piled high with timber, and

  • Launch of Global Sanctuary for Elephants - with ElephantVoices as founding partner

    As many of our supporters know, for the last couple of years ElephantVoices has been working with team members in Brazil to promote and support progressive legislation to end the antiquated practice of performing elephants. A connected strategy has been to explore the development of an elephant sanctuary in Brazil. Many captive elephants in Brazil and other South American countries are in dire need of better welfare and living conditions. To help put an end to their suffering, a sanctuary in Brazil is urgently needed.

    Recently, Scott Blais, co-founder of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, and his partner, Katherine Blais, have established a new non-profit entity, Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSfE), with financial and other support from ElephantVoices.

    Dedicated to the development and support of progressive, holistic, natural habitat elephant sanctuaries internationally, GSfE will spearhead the exciting and, for elephants, important effort in Brazil. Brazil is for many reasons a well suited location for a sanctuary - with the climate, available habitats permitting natural foraging and social behavior, the potential of progressive policies and a our established team of enthusiastic volunteers being just a few.

    A collaborative initiative with ambitious goals

    Joyce (far left) and Petter with Ana Zinger and Junia Machado, ElephantVoices Brasil. Photo: ElephantVoices. With their vast experience with captive elephants, Scott and Katherine

  • Press release: Ivory Trade Ban Essential to Save Elephants


    For Immediate Release February 11, 2014

    Ivory Trade Ban Essential to Save Elephants

    As world leaders gather in London on 13 February to attend a summit – hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and attended by Prince Charles and Prince William – to confront the escalating poaching crisis decimating the world’s iconic wildlife, 23 environmental, conservation, and animal welfare groups from 14 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America demand a permanent ban on both domestic and international trade in ivory and the destruction of all government-held stocks.

    Experts estimate approximately 50,000 elephants were killed in 2013 to satisfy the demand for ivory – largely from China. This level of poaching has not been seen since the 1980s. Without urgent action to end the ivory trade now, elephants may soon become extinct in parts of their range in Africa and Asia. The poaching is also devastating rural communities, sustaining terrorist groups and armed militias, and driving domestic conflict. Tragically, more than 1,000 rangers have lost their lives worldwide in the fight against poaching over the last decade, with untold impacts on their families. The human toll does not stop there. Vulnerable communities are being exploited by traffickers and

  • The unfolding story about Kibo from the well

    Below you will find links and video related to the unfolding story of Kibo, a baby elephant who got stuck in a well and was rescued to be taken to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. We first wrote about this rescued elephant in February 2009. Meeting a desperate baby trapped in a well, and now seeing him thriving as "Kibo" at the orphanage, is heart warming. Kibo will one day be released back to the wild and, hopefully, live to a ripe old age in an environment free from the scourge of the ivory trade. In the meantime, he is an emissary, changing the hearts and minds of young school children in Kenya and, via the internet, people all over the world. 

    Trumpets, Petter

    The rescue of a baby elephant

    A young baby elephant fell late at night 28 January 2009 into a man made well west of Amboseli National Park, Kenya, near Sinya Mines.

    Some local maasai found him and asked the Amboseli Elephant Research Project for help to rescue him. For a long time we all tried to find his family, but they were not to be seen.

    We had to get him up - he