gorongosa national park

  • "Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise" soon to be aired

    (Presentation based on press release from PBS, see also http://www.pbs.org/gorongosa)

    Brings to Life an Historic Rejuvenation of an African Wildlife Oasis

    Three-part adventure series airs on PBS Tuesdays September 22 – October 6, 2015,  8:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Family Sneak Preview Week September 16-22. PBS will offer the entire series across all streaming platforms.

    Gorongosa elephants. Photo ElephantVoices.

    ARLINGTON, VA; Aug. 10, 2015 – Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration stories, living proof that nature can recover from near collapse, so long as humans protect it and help it to heal. In GORONGOSA PARK: REBIRTH OF PARADISE, airing Tuesdays,  September 22 to October 6, 8:00 -10:00 p.m. ET on PBS, viewers will join Emmy-winning filmmaker Bob Poole on an incredible adventure exploring Gorongosa, as “rewilding” efforts are made to restore populations of magnificent creatures after a civil war nearly destroyed the park.

    The success of “re-wilding” Gorongosa National Park is crucial to this East African ecosystem and to the global conservation community. Poole has made it his life’s work to communicate the beauty and importance of Gorongosa to the world. He is joined in the effort by specialists who include his sister, renowned elephant researcher

  • Acknowledgements

    For permission to conduct research in Amboseli National Park over many years we thank the National Research Council, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Wardens of Amboseli National Park. Our many colleagues and collaborators have our deepest thanks for their commitment, support and friendship. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with these individuals and to learn from their experiences.

    We are grateful to those organizations, companies and individuals who have made possible our Elephant Partners conservation initiative for the Mara elephants, launched in 2011. We also greatly appreciate our collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service, the Narok County Council, the conservancies and group ranches, the Mara Elephant Project and other stakeholders of the Mara ecosystem and its elephants. See Acknowledgements within the Elephant Partners section for the full picture for this particular initiative.

    We very much appreciate the close collaboration and friendship with so many of those involved in the Gorongosa Project and the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, where we have been working since 2011. The holistic approach toward the Park, it's wildlife and the surrounding communities is an inspiration and a role model for conservation.

    Many thanks go to our current and previous external Board members: Dr. Cynthia

  • Edward O. Wilson in Gorongosa: A WINDOW ON ETERNITY

    We are posting the speech by Professor Edward O. Wilson at the Opening of Laboratory of Biodiversity of Gorongosa in deep respect for Greg Carr, the Mozambiquen Government and the whole team of people working to protect Gorongosa National Park. The long-term, holistic approach taken by the Gorongosa Team working to restore an amazingly biodiverse ecosystem is admireable from many perspectives - and provides a model for other priceless habitats and species. What we will learn from Gorongosa may have an impact far and beyond, well symbolised through the Laboratory of Biodiversity just opened. 

    We, admittedly, wish we were in Gorongosa for this milestone - and we really look forward to continue our elephant work there later in the year. We are proud to be part of the Gorongosa Team.

    Joyce and Petter


    Edward O. Wilson

    The development of these wonderful facilities, along with the earlier inclusion of Gorongosa Mountain into the park and the rebuilding of the megafauna back to its pre-war strength, has been made a reality by Greg Carr and the government of Mozambique. It represents an advance not only in this country and Africa but the entire global environmental movement.

    Edward O. Wilson examines an orb weaver spider web while collecting insects in Gorongosa National Park. (©Bob Poole)In essence, what it

  • Elephant Crisis Fund

  • ElephantVoices eNewsletter September 2015


    Did you know….? Our work in Gorongosa, Mozambique, will be highlighted in episodes 2 and 5 of the six-part PBS series entitled, Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise. The film will premier on 22 September. Our photo of two Mabenzi family babies, taken on a rare drizzly, foggy morning in October 2013, has become an icon for the PBS series. The elephants were tucking into a bonanza of fallen seed pods under the Faidherbia albida trees.

    Dear friend of ElephantVoices,

    In Maasai Mara, Kenya, citizen scientists have been gathering data using our Mara EleApp and uploading to our Who's Who & Whereabouts Databases. In recent years human and livestock populations have increased and the landscape is being rapidly subdivided and fenced. Ivory poaching has hit the Mara elephants hard, too. While the outlook isn’t uplifting, elephants are resilient, flexible and smart, and we see these qualities reflected in the data: Elephants are strategically adapting their movements and behavior to overcome adversity and to balance access to security and resources. ElephantVoices is working with colleagues to define habitat and corridors to ensure long-term survival of elephants and connectivity of habitat. Many thanks to those who have made our work possible - JRS

  • 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

  • History

    Joyce Poole has studied the social behavior and communication of African elephants for over thirty five years and has dedicated her life to their conservation and welfare. The inspiration for her life's work came from a childhood in Africa, a father with a love of nature, and a lecture by Jane Goodall that she attended at the age of eleven. She began her work with elephants at the age of 19 in Amboseli National Park studying there under mentor, and Director of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, Cynthia Moss.

    Joyce Poole with new Nagra tape recorder in 1987. (Copyright: ElephantVoices)Decades-long study of elephant behavior and communication

    In Amboseli, Joyce's early work focused on the social and reproductive behavior of male elephants. Discovering in 1978 that African male elephants experience a heightened sexual and aggressive period known as musth, led her to carry out detailed study of their socio-sexual behavior. In the mid 1980s, she extended her study to elephant communication, first concentrating on the signaling patterns between males in musth. The very low frequency sounds produced by male elephants led to work with Katy Payne, and the finding that, like their Asian cousins, African elephants use sounds below the level of human hearing. Together, Joyce and Katy turned their attention

  • 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

  • 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