Media

Monday, 10 March 2003 10:00

Elephant communication and the SEVP are attracting quite a lot of public interest. TV coverage on BBC and ABC, and various articles in printed and online media, all contribute to the project's outreach objectives.

An article about the SEVP was recently published on National Geographic News. National Geographic Society through their Conservation Trust is one of SEVP’s donors. You can read the article here.

Cheers, Petter

Sunday, 08 June 2003 15:37

We spent 8 days in Amboseli between 11th and 18th May with a student, Blake Murray, from Seattle working with us. We experienced several close encounters with elephants, some extremely entertaining, some very sad.

As the rains began in late April Echo took her family (the EBs) to the western side of the park, an area she rarely visits. This move proved fatal for Echo’s eldest daughter, Erin, who in late April was speared twice, high on her right shoulder by Maasai moran (or warriors). Since the EBs were inside the park the most likely reason for the spearing appears to have been a show of manhood. Although Erin (or a family member) was able to remove the spears her wounds were extremely deep and became infected.

By early May, when she was first sighted, she was clearly in intense pain and unable to move more than a few steps at a time. The decision was taken to immobilize her, clean the wound and treat her with antibiotics. Although she appeared to make a comeback for a few days, the infection must have been well advanced and so on 15 May she was immobilized and treated again. The Kenya Wildlife Service crew did a great job on both occasions. To make a long and sad story short – a week or so later it was clear that she couldn’t survive – Erin collapsed, unable to stand again. After deliberation between KWS and AERP it was decided to immobilize her first (M99 the drug used to immobilize elephants contains morphine) and then euthanise her. Thus Erin’s pain and life ended.

Erin.  (©ElephantVoices)She was mother to adult daughters, Edwina (21) and Eleanor (17), juvenile daughters, Echeri (8) and Erica (5) and several independent young males as well as grandmother to three calves, Europa (7), Elaine (4) and Elmo (4). Her youngest surviving calf, “E-mail

less than two years old, may not survive. But Echo’s family is strongly bonded and for now he is under the watchful care of his elder sister, Echeri.

After having worked with the same individuals for a long time, and based on the particular circumstances this event was stressful and extremely sad. Filmmaker Martin Colbeck and AERP’s Director, Cynthia Moss, working on the third Echo production followed Erin closely for almost 3 weeks. We also spend several days with Erin and her family over the course of this saga. Erin’s family visited her every few days and was never out of calling range for the entire three weeks. Based on typical elephant routine of staying in one place for about four days before moving on moving on, based on the fact that the EBs were many kilometers from home, and that they typically spend much of their time in subgroups, their behavior showed, without question, that they stayed together, near Erin, because of her injury.

After Erin died and communication between her and the family ceased, Echo took her family ten kilometers further southwest – across the border into Tanzania – a place that in 31 years of observations she has never before been observed. They came back days later to touch Erin’s bones and then returned west. What went on in their hearts and minds we will never know. A further introduction to what happened with Erin can be found on www.elephanttrust.org.

Erin’s drama created quite a few changes in our plans. The EB’s were difficult to find, or spent their time at locations that were difficult to get to and so we spent a few days with other families. Being the rainy season we were able to watch a lot of elephant play behaviour and that gave us cheer!

The research camp was full to overflowing with colleagues from around the globe: Oxford-based Keith Lindsay, Prof. Richard Byrne from St. Andrews, Scotland and database-expert and AERP volunteer Hans-Georg Michna from Germany being those longest away “from home”.

We will return to Amboseli on 16 June.

Cheers, Petter


The photo left shows an extremely excited and playful young female tusking the ground, probably to show us how strong (and silly) she is! (Photo: ElephantVoices)

Friday, 05 March 2004 15:36

We were in Amboseli again between 14 and 22 February, primarily for Joyce to work on a film production for National Geographic Television. The January rain had been good for Amboseli, and the elephants were in lively groups of up to three hundred.

In our research camp office much of the time was used in analysis of previous recordings (Sarah), and populating the newly designed ElephantVoices Database (Joyce). Joyce and Amboseli Elephant Research Project’s (AERP) Training Manager, Norah Njiraini, had the pleasure to finalize the selection of two recipients for the Amboseli Trust for Elephants new secondary school scholarship program for Maasai girls. AERP is engaged in numerous community projects, support of local students at secondary (two girls per year) and university level (currently three) being one of these.

Meanwhile, Petter focused on upcoming web-challenges, video recordings as well as the daunting task of trying to answer the many requests and comments that comes in through ElephantVoices.

Quite a few Kilimanjaro elephants visited the camp and it’s surroundings during our stay. The “Kili Eles

Thursday, 15 July 2004 09:14

We spent 24 hours in the research camp from the morning of 8 July, mainly to meet up with a Japanese film crew wanting to present our work on elephant communication and the Amboseli elephants. Our study elephants the EB family collaborated nicely throughout the day, and the film crew obviously went back to Nairobi and Japan with a lot of good footage.

This field visit was the last one for a couple of months, since extensive work with data-analysis, papers, video/audio editing and the book about the 32 year Amboseli Elephant Research Project will engage us fully in the time to come.



TheJapanese film crew covering the work of ElephantVoices with the famous Japanese actor and singer Yuji Oda (left of Joyce) as presenter.

WeTheJapanese film crew covering the work of ElephantVoices with the famous Japanese actor and singer Yuji Oda (left of Joyce) as presenter. We’re still working hard with changes and expansions on ElephantVoices, and we apologize for any errors or strange behavior on the site while this work is going on. Slow Kenyan lines and thereby long upload-times to our server in Trondheim/Norway are still giving us some head-aches. We’ll be back with information when the changes have been completed, hopefully during next week. Cheers, Petter/ElephantVoices

Friday, 14 January 2005 12:51

The third film about Amboseli's EB family (our study elephants) is being shown on the BBC's Natural World on Wednesday 19th January, with a repeat on Sunday 23rd. See below.

If you are among those who can receive the BBC we recommend that you take the time to watch the film. The elephant sounds are carefully selected from the ElephantVoices collection.

Many of you may have heard the surprising news that very few animals died in the devastating Tsunami that killed over 160,000 people. The amazing behavior of animals, particularly elephants, has already been the focus of several articles and documentaries. You will find one such article, which includes a few comments by Joyce, on National Geographics website.

This phenomenon has also attracted interest in Norway, and the National Broadcaster NRK (Schrødingers Katt) will include an interview with Joyce about the response of elephants to earthquakes which will probably air on 10 February.

In September 2003 the ElephantVoices team visited Yala East National Park on Sri Lanka's eastern coast. We had a fantastic experience there thanks to our friend Lalith Seneviratne and our extraordinary host, Park Warden R. Myunideen Mohamed. The parks had just been reopened following two decades of civil unrest.

Mohamed's family are among the many who have lost everything but their lives. All the Park's staff saved themselves, some by running side by side with water buffaloes. The elephants had left for higher ground earlier. The park's new headquarters was submerged in five feet of water, but a miracle saved them from major damage.

Mohamed,  Joyce and Lalith in Yala East September 2003 - one of the areas that  encountered the destructive forces of the Tsunami. (©ElephantVoices)

Mohamed, Joyce and Lalith in Yala East September 2003 - one of the areas that encountered the destructive forces of the Tsunami.
Our thoughts are with the Sri Lankan people, and all others affected by the Sumatra quake.

Cheers, Petter/ElephantVoices
Tuesday, 01 February 2005 22:09
National Geographic World Talk radio show recently presented a live 16 minute interview with Joyce about elephants and ElephantVoices. The show is sent from San Francisco, and included some elephant sounds from the ElephantVoices collection.

You may download the program from http://www.iciclenetworks.com/natlgeo_world.htm, show 18, segment 2. You can alternatively download a zipped version in lower quality http://www.elephantvoices.org/resources/show_18_seg_2_Jan_31_2005_11.15.20.zip

A program on the Norwegian national broadcaster NRK1 (Schrødingers Katt) Thursday 3 February at 7.30 pm will include an interview with Joyce. The program is about animals and their potential to perceive or foresee natural disasters. Check http://www.nrk.no/programoversikt/?p_otr_prog_id=PRTY11000505&p_otr_sendedato=20050203&p_otr_anntid=19.30&p_otr_kanal=NRK1&p_knapp=Omtale&p_artikkel_id=0

Cheers, Petter/ElephantVoices
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 17:05

Elephants are capable of vocal learning and mimicry, according to a Brief Communication in this week's Nature. An ability shown by bats, birds, primates and marine mammals, vocal imitation is thought to be used within complex social groups to strengthen and maintain individual bonds whenanimals separate and reunite.

Joyce Poole and colleagues analyzed examples of vocal imitation by African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) living in different locations. The first elephant, Mlaika, a 10-year-old adolescent female residing in Tsavo, Kenya, was recorded making truck-like sounds. Trucks can sometimes be heard from Mlaika's night stockade, which lies 3 km from the Nairobi-Mombassa highway. Mlaika's truck-like calls were significantly different in all respects from the normal calls made by African elephants.

The second elephant, Calimero, is a 23-year-old male who spent 18 years living with two female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at the Basel Zoo in Switzerland. Unlike their African counterparts, Asian elephants typically communicate using chirping sounds. Calimero now emulates these chirp-like calls almost to the point of excluding all other sounds. The researchers say that as far as they know, this is the first time this kind of vocal learning has been displayed in a non-primate land mammal.

The mentioned feature article will be published in Nature, Volume 434, page 455-456, 24 March.

This press release has led to substantial interest from media from all over the world, and you can find out more about this using the following link: Google Search Nature article

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices

Thursday, 24 March 2005 07:37

The featured Nature article icon Elephants are capable of vocal learning. (289.43 kB) has created huge media interest. Journalists from all over the world have been in contact with ElephantVoices' Joyce Poole and colleagues Peter Tyack and Stephanie Watwood (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) and Angela Stoeger-Horwath (Vienna Zoo).

Media interest has included several BBC radio programs: The World Service (Wednesday evening/Thursday morning), The Leading Edge (Radio 4 Broadcast Thursday 9:00 pm London time), Science in Action, Radio Five Live. Other radio programs include: Science Update, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Public Radio and Campus, of German Public Radio.

Newspapers interest so far: The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, NewsDay, Asahi Shimbun, and Kyodo News. We have spoken with Journals: Science, Sciences et Avenir and Science News. Online news: National Geographic News, BBC News Online, Spektrumdirekt. News Agencies: Agence France Presse. TV: Daily Planet.

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices

Wednesday, 22 March 2006 14:56
An interview with Joyce Poole and other scientists in New Scientist 18 February edition created substantial media focus. The article entitled, Elephants on the edge fight back, examines the underlying causes of what appears to be increasing aggression directed towards people. Increasing evidence suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder as well as revenge may play a role. You will find the full article here, icon Elephants on the edge fight back (156.69 kB), and some other media coverage here.

Just having arrived back from Kenya Joyce and Petter were very disturbed to learn that a below freezing and snow-covered Sandefjord, Norway, was expecting a visit from a circus with elephants. The local newspaper Sandefjords Blad published their commentary on 21. February. (In English icon here (51.35 kB).

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices
Monday, 13 August 2007 10:51

National Geographic Channel has this weekend shown the Explorer Program "Revenge of the Elephants", where Joyce Poole and ATE's project manager Soila Sayialel has contributed and is interviewed. Part of the footage is from Amboseli National Park in Kenya, our research homeground.  Read more here.

The program was shown August 11 and 12th, and will also be aired Monday August 13 at 12pm Eastern Time (9AM Pacific Time).

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices

Sunday, 28 January 2007 14:25
Joyce and Petter will be on an ATE/ElephantVoices lecture and fundraising tour in the US from 29th January to 12 February. During their stay they will give lectures and hold discussions with students at The Taft School and Vermont Academy, and have meetings with legislators, sponsors and the media.

On February 5th Joyce will give a lecture at The Explorers Club in New York.

Due to unexpected events the report from our month long field trip to Kenya ending 7. January will have to wait until the second half of February.

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices
Tuesday, 03 July 2007 15:19
Joyce was in Amboseli from 12-24 April, mainly working on the new ATE digital elephant ID database and the upcoming Amboseli book.
(©ElephantVoices)
Project manager Soila Sayialel, Robert Sayialel and Norah Njiraini working with the ID database in "Echo Romeo Hotel", ATE's field office i Amboseli

In general the book, The Amboseli Elephants: A long-term perspective on a long-lived mammal, has been close to an all consuming task during the last few months. The book will present the accumulated findings of more than 30 years of research on the Amboseli elephant population. Almost 20 scientists who have been involved in the Amboseli project over the years are contributing to what will be a vital source of information for people interested in or working with elephants.

With our contributions to the Amboseli book soon off our hands we plan to use more energy on the development of the elephant communication database on ElephantVoices.

Elephantvoices' FAQ about elephants in captivity was updated in the beginning of July. The changes are mainly related to the first ten questions/answers. Some more documents are linked, and also included in the welfare documents page. Among these are the resent updated version of ATE's statement about elephants in circuses.

Some good news: Today we learned that icon the statement (161.77 kB) we prepared late last year arguing against the capture of wild elephants for elephant back safaris has been successfully used in a South African court case to protect elephants.

We are on behalf of all elephants also happy that African governments reached an agreement during the last CITES meeting in the Hague that gives a nine year ban on further ivory trade. You can read more about the long and controversial "ivory saga" here.

We are soon off on our summer holiday with our eager seafarer, Malita, and wish you all a pleasant and relaxed summer!


Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 13:22

Education is vital to achieve the goals of ElephantVoices, and for conservation and welfare efforts in general. We will on this page link some of the media coverage related to ElephantVoices activities that we happen to come over.

Some links may not work - not all media keep their archives available long term. We apologize for the inconvenience.


What elephant calls mean: A user's guide. News Feature in National Geographic on 2 May 2014 - also posted on A Voice for Elephants.


Gift to the Maasai Mara, a Male Elephant is Born. Blog post by Joyce Poole & Petter Granli in National Geographic's A Voice for Elephants, 11 April 2014.


Orphan Elephants Lack Social Knowledge Key for Survival. Article in National Geographic's Daily News, interview Joyce Poole, 31 October 2013.


Name That Elephant: How to Identify Elephants in the Wild. Article in National Geographic's A Voice for Elephants 16 August 2013, with ElephantVoices video clips.


Joyce Poole as Studio Guest in China Radio International, Beijing, 21 June 2013.


Elephants communicate in Sophisticated Sign Language, Researchers Say. Article and interview Joyce Poole & Petter Granli in National Geographic's Newswatch, 24 April 2013.


Boyd Matson interview with Joyce Poole on National Geographic Weekend 7 April 2013.


Elephants communicate in Sophisticated Sign Language, Researchers Say. Blog post Joyce Poole & Petter Granli on National Geographic's A Voice for Elephants, 4 March 2013.


Joyce Poole and Petter Granli on NRK's Morgennytt (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Morning News) on 1 June 2012, talking about elephants, the work of ElephantVoices and the National Geographic documentary War Elephants. The interview is at around 08.25am, or at 26.15 on the video.


Joyce Poole and Petter Granli on NRK P2's Nyhetsmorgen, talking about elephants, the work of ElephantVoices and the National Geographic documentary War Elephants. Oslo, 1 June 2012.

Joyce Poole interviewed by National Geographics Boyd Matson on National Geographic weekend radio (Episode 1213), talking about elephants and the National Geographic documentary War Elephants. Washington DC, 25 March 2012.

Elephants Is A Family Affair. Radio interview with Joyce and Bob Poole on Animal House/NPR, Washington DC, 17 March 2012.


Live conversation with Joyce Poole on National Geographic on Facebook., Washington DC, 13 March 2012. (YouTube video)


redes, Spain, 20 July 2010: icon Entrevista (interview) Joyce Poole (323.76 kB)


Sad elephants in Barcelona Zoo - sanctuary in Europe needed.

There are several links to media coverage from an ElephantVoices visit to Barcelona in June 2012 at the bottom of the page linked.


Joyce Poole interview about the captured elephants in Zimbabwe, 21st May 2010, on SW Radio Africa. After buffering move to 23.15 to go directly to where it starts. You will find several media links about this issue on this page. Shortly after Zimbabwe cancelled this deal.

Joyce Poole on Talking Animals, talking about her life-long dedication to elephants and their interests. 12 May 2010, TalkingAnimals.net

Science Policy Forum, 12 March 2010. Conservation: Elephants, Ivory, and Trade. You will find the full paper icon here. (395.07 kB).


Visit and press conference 17 Sept. 2009 with Bob Barker, Joyce Poole and others, in Edmonton, Canada, related to elephant Lucy in Valley Zoo. Story on CTV here, video diary from visit here, and clip from Joyce Poole's statement in press conference here.


Interview with Joyce Poole on Norwegian Public Radio, NRK Vestfold NRKP2 and Sånn er Livet, about ElephantVoices work to get elephants out of circuses worldwide. 16 and 21 September 2009.


If You Knew Susi: Barcelona's 'Sad Elephant' Flap, Time online article, 19 May 2009.


Summit for Elephants - They Need Our Help, Article LASplash.com from PAWS conference, late April 2009.


Do elephants twitter, conversation between Joyce Poole and Sandip Roy. New America Media, San Francisco, March 2009.

WBUR.org documentary Inside Out on American Zoos with an entire section dedicated to elephants.Listen to program, which includes interviews with Joyce Poole and others, January 2009.


Tusk, Tusk: Elephant Expert Scolds City Over Enclosure "Elephant in the Room, Now Elephant in Council Chambers (Joyce Poole)", NBC Los Angeles coverage Billy discussion LA City Council 18 November 2008.


Elephants' struggle with poaching lingers on ScienceNews, Magazine of the Society for Science & the Public, November 2008.


Joyce Poole shares her experiences learning the language of the elephants and recording their low-frequency rumblings, on National Geographic Radio, 27 September 2008. (Part 1 & 2)

Om elefanters forbøffende luktesans, intervju med Joyce Poole på bakgrunn av nylig fremlagt forskningsrapport. NRK P2, Verdt å vite, 25. Oct. 2007.

Elefanter kan prate - den intelligente kjempen (WWF Norge, Pandaklubben, Juli 2007)


Podcast Joyce Poole lecture at Explorers Club 5th February 2007. (Science & the City - Webzine of the New York Academy of Sciences)


Vídeo de la entrevista de la Comunidad Smart con la especialista en elefantes Joyce Poole Smartplanet, 2006, Spanish translation.


¿En qué se parece un elefante y un loro? (BBC MUNDO.com, Mars 2006)


NewScientist, 18. February 2006: Elephants on the edge fight back (Full paper here (156.69 kB). Some other media coverage based on the above: Physorg.com, US, The Standard, Chinas business Newspaper, The Age, UK, Daily Telegraph, UK.


Ranger Rick, National Wildlife Federation, about "Elephant Talk" (November 2005)


The ethical management of Elephants and the value of long-term field research (Poole/Granli in AV Magazine, The American Anti-Vivisection Society, fall 2005)


"Scientist: Chicago Not Suitable Home For Elephants. Ordinance Would Require More Space For Animals." NBC5.com coverage Joyce Poole testimony. (25. August 2005) You will find links to other media coverage of the same issue/hearing (Elephant Ordinance Chicago City Council) here, and the testimony itself here.


Elefantprat, NRK Østafjells. (Friday 15. April 2005)


National Geographic News, Elephants Can Mimic Traffic, Other Noises, Study Says. (Wednesday 23. March 2005)


BBC News, World Edition, Elephants learn by sound mimicry. (Wednesday 23. March 2005)


Links (most) global print and online media coverage Nature Paper; Animal Behaviour: Elephants capable of vocal learning. (March/April 2005, 190 kb)


Thursday 3. February 7.30 pm, Schrödingers katt; Kan dyr varsle naturkatastrofer? Interview Joyce Poole on Norwegian NRK1. You will find an article about the program here.


National Geographic World Talk show 28 January 2005, presenting Joyce Poole/ElephantVoices (Downloadable 2 Mb .zip file, reduced quality)


Short presentation of ElephantVoices' main scope in Science Magazine, Netwatch, Volume 307 28 January 2005.


Article nationalgeographic.com 4 January 2005, Did Animals Sense Tsunami Was Coming? Including interview Joyce.


Article Mountain Express, Idaho, related to lecture by Joyce in Ketchum, Idaho, 22. December 2004.


Interview with Joyce in Amboseli, BBC Radio 4, Open University Series, THE SOUND OF LIFE. (Programme 6, Meanings of Sounds, 10.30 minutes into the programme. All sounds provided by ElephantVoices). August 2004. File will be streamed in your own player.


From NG Explorer May 2004National Geographic Magazine and the Natonal Geographic Explorer (Student Magazine), May 2004 issues.


National Geographic Explorer (Student Magazine), May 2004 issue, web resources for teachers.


nationalgeographic.com, March 3. 2004: "Elephants Call Long-Distance After-Hours"


Online with a Big communicator. Taft Bulletin, fall 2003. (3.89 MB)


nationalgeographic.com, February 23, 2003: "In Africa, Decoding the Language of Elephants"

 

Thursday, 01 May 2008 12:00

Hi all,

We thought you might be interested in reading a piece which appeared in The Sunday Independent (South Africa) on the culling of elephants, on May 11, 2008. See also this, and icon AERP 2006. Statement on culling of elephants. (127.02 kB).

SA government is misusing science to turn elephants into commodities

This month, the South African government will put into effect a plan authorising the lethal management of elephants. After a 14-year moratorium, culling - systematic killing - will be allowed in the name of conservation. The decision claims justification from a 476-page report drafted by a group of scientists convened to discuss the state of elephants. Yet this decision is based on a false reading of the evidence. Science does not support the assertion that elephants are imperilling biodiversity and are widely hazardous to human safety.

Unlike other African nations, almost all the elephants in South Africa are impounded behind fences in parks and reserves with little direct human contact. The report admits that elephants pose negligible threats to public safety. Far from destroying their environment, there is no substantive evidence that elephant effects on habitat and other species are other than localised and reversible. Indeed, more robust evidence shows that elephants play an essential positive role in maintaining ecosystem health and function. The claim that elephants are overpopulated is also spurious. Elephants are on the verge of being lost, their survival doubtful.

Humans have expanded into nearly all areas of elephant habitat. Present populations are merely a fraction of what existed before European colonisation and today, elephants exist only in meagre pockets. There is barely half the number of elephants in Africa than there were 20 years ago. Their devastation has gone so far as to trigger lasting genetic changes, including - in extreme cases - tusklessness. Humans have out-competed nature: mass killings and restricted space have created conditions that undermine elephants' ability to function normally.

Under pressure to resume ivory and skin sales and expand private ownership of live animals, the South African government has misused science and turned elephants into commodities. Treating science selectively to achieve political and economic ends is bad enough; worse is the disregard for those whom they are proposing to kill. "Whom" is accurate, for after decades of study the criteria once used to distinguish critically between elephants and humans and thus rationalise their subordination are not valid. Elephants, like humans, have culture, stunning intelligence, complex communication, vocal learning, episodic memory and show intention and self-awareness. They feel grief and other strong emotions. Tragically, we now know that elephants can even experience psychological disorders.

A year and a half ago the New York Times Magazine reported in icon Are we driving elephants crazy? (5.72 MB) that infant elephants who witness the death of culled mothers and family grow up to become unprecedented "serial killers", in separate cases killing over 100 endangered white and black rhinoceroses and attacking one another and people. As with human children who experience war, elephant orphans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Further, wild elephants are exhibiting other trauma-induced disorders that transmit and promulgate across generations. Stressed mother elephants show depression and indifference to their infants in distress.

When elephants and humans are put side by side, researchers are hard-pressed to come up with significantly meaningful differences in terms of brain, behaviour, emotion and mind. By force of its own evidence, science shows elephants to be sufficiently like ourselves to necessitate an ethical status rather than being treated as depersonalised commodities. Neuroscientists, ethologists, ecologists and psychologists concur that the proposal to commodify and control elephants through killing undermines conservation of the species and their ecosystems. The only urgent elephant problem in South Africa is the need to save them from certain destruction. There are multiple options and intermediate steps to improve life for elephants and their landscapes. These choices work with, not against, ecological processes for the renewal of elephant society as it once was: a great civilisation. The creation of protected corridors that allow elephants to move across landscapes is one way that would alleviate pressures on ecosystems in fenced, isolated reserves. Small private reserves are essentially large zoos resembling more closely captive conditions. Integration, not separation (a cross-species echo of apartheid), allows people to develop coexistence with elephants, as they did before colonial pressures and values subjugated both human and animal communities.

The decision to cull brings humankind to a momentous choice: do we defend science or do we allow it to be manipulated like the elephants under the guise of a righteous cause? We reel in horror from the legacies of human "culls" genocides, ethnic cleansing and wars that humans visit upon each other, also in the name of a good cause. In the face of our best and brightest research, can we knowingly inflict this on another species? Will we continue to lurch down the path of extinctions and violence? Or will we, once and for all, reject killing as an inevitable choice to solve our problems?

GA Bradshaw, PhD, The Kerulos Centre, United States
Keith Lindsay
, PhD, Amboseli Elephant Research Project, Kenya
Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick, DBE MBE MBS DVMS, Kenya
Allan N. Schore
, PhD, UCLA, US
Cynthia Moss, director, Amboseli Elephant Research Project, Kenya
Joyce Poole
, PhD, Elephant Voices, Kenya
Lori Marino, PhD, Emory University, US
Ian Redmond, OBE, Ape Alliance, Britain
Marc Bekoff
, PhD, University of Colorado, US
Will Travers
, CEO, The Born Free Foundation, UK and US

Wednesday, 17 December 2008 09:30

Hi all,

Dionysus in  full musth in mid nineties. (©ElephantVoices)One of our readers, Amy Mayers, sent this to us: A Public Service Announcement put out by the US Government that uses lessons from elephant behavior (a paper on which I was an author from 2000) to argue for bettering fathering.

Well, the elephants in the clip are from Amboseli (some of my all time favorites, like Dionysus, in image to the right), not from South Africa, and while the behavior it describes is not actually what we see in the video, and it mostly gets the sexes of the elephants wrong, the message is a good one and true for both elephants and people. The youth of both species require good adult role models in their lives. Growing up without them spells trouble.

Joyce

Friday, 10 December 2004 13:09

The third film in the trilogy, "Natural World: Echo of the Elephants

Saturday, 11 February 2006 20:23

You may find the article icon Do Animals Have FEELINGS? (477.8 kB) interesting. The article is written by Klaus Wilhelm, and published in Scientific American, issue February/March 2006.

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices

Thursday, 27 April 2006 10:15

Joyce was in Spain 3rd to 7th April, giving lectures in Barcelona and Madrid about elephant communication and the work of ElephantVoices. Television Espanola and BBC Spain was among the media covering her lecture. Others were Actualidad Terra, the Spanish news agency Agencia EFE, Garrafex News and mascotas.com.

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices

Thursday, 06 November 2008 09:14

Dear elephant friends!

For those of you living in the US: Sandip Roy Chowdhury will be talking with Joyce Poole on "New America Now: Dispatches from the New Majority," which airs Friday Nov 14th at 1:00 p.m. and repeats Sunday at 3:00 p.m. on KALW, 91.7 FM.

You can hear an interview with Joyce on AnimalVoices, an alternative radio in Vancouver, via the player below. The interview with Karl Losken was aired on 31st October.
{audio}2008-10-31.mp3{/audio}

At 4 am this morning we were awoken by two alarm clocks - not wanting to risk that one would let us down. A couple of hours later we departed for our two week event and fundraising tour in California. We're looking forward to see friends, elephant supporters and even elephants (at PAWS, where we have a joint event on Saturday 15th Nov.), while at the same time experience the excitement of an historical election. With strong roots in Kenya (and plenty of other good reasons, too) no-one should be surprised that we are happy that Barack Obama will soon be the new President of the United States of America. We are among those convinced that he will strengthen America in a way that will be good for everyone. Barack is Kiswahili for blessing and he is indeed a blessing.

Waiting at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam for our next flight, we watched another BBC news piece describing the impact of increased ivory poaching on the world's biggest land mammal - and expressing fears that the recent ivory auctions, sanctioned by CITES, will stimulate that growing threat. More and more elephants are succumbing to poaching fueled by the ivory trade and the press needs to bring this to the world's attention. Despite difficult times for the financial markets around the world, and for most of us as a consequence, we are hopeful that the people we meet during our California tour will continue to support our elephant work.

Best wishes, Petter and Joyce

Thursday, 23 July 2009 08:13

Bullhook photograph Bob Poole in ThailandOn 22 July 2009 PETA released new undercover footage of elephants being beaten by employees of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Joyce has made a formal comment on this footage which can be read here: Poole, J. 2009. Statement regarding PETA recent footage Ringling Brothers Circus (93.52 kB)

The footage is completely consistent with the evidence that Joyce reviewed as an expert witness in the legal case against against this circus. The judgement is to be made in the upcoming days. The casual and repetitive manner in which the handlers strike the elephants in this recent footage shows gratuitous violence and demonstrates that such treatment is routine. This cruel and sickening treatment of elephants has no place in the 21st Century.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:31

On 21st April, I received an email from Glynis Vaughan of the Zimbabwe NSPCA about a second capture of 10 wild elephants (we provided an affidavit for the earlier Shearwater case). These elephants were bought by Basil Steyn of Elephant Experience in Victoria Falls for the purpose of Elephant Back Safaris.

The elephants, ranging in age from 4 to 18 years old, had actually been captured back in October 2008 but had gone undetected for six months and were being held and trained on Steyn's Sondelani Ranch. They were being housed in a metal boma (enclosure) without shade or shelter and were chained continuously, only being released for training.

Glynis was in need of people who knew wild elephant behavior and our close friend and colleague from Amboseli, Lucy Bates, is now living in South Africa. We contacted her and she agreed to go to Zimbabwe to assess the elephants together with another colleague, Karen Trendler. Thanks to their reports and the excellent work of Glynis Vaughan and the ZNSPCA team, National Parks have agreed that the elephants should be released AND that there should be no further capture of wild elephants.

Glynis and her team wanted the elephants off chains as soon aspossible but was concerned about how they would behave if they were put together in one enclosure. Based on the information I had been given about the number, ages and sexes of the elephants and their purported genetic relationships I recommended that the chains be removed and that they should all be put together - and that the only problem they might have might be from Jack a 15 year old male. But since they believed that he was from the same family I didn't think it would be a problem.

Over the weekend the ZNPCA team released all of the elephants off of their chains and let them mingle. Jack and Jessica had a "tiff" but then they all settled down and began mingling and enjoying themselves. Apparently there was a lot of talking and touching in the beginning which then led to playing and general interacting.

Sadly, one little 5 year old male, Dumusani, was too weak and unwell - likely from the long-term trauma and separation - to survive and he passed away on the evening of 28th.

In a happy twist in the story the owner of Sondelani has agreed that the elephants can be moved from his property and has said that he will never train elephants again!

ZNSPCA PRESS STATEMENT ON WILD CAPTURED ELEPHANTS HELD CAPTIVE AT SONDELANI RANCH

 

ZNSPCA are pleased to inform the international community that the ten wild elephants captured by Basil Steyn for commercial purposes are scheduled for release.

ZNSPCA would like to thank the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Honourable Minister Nhema, the Attorney General's offices, officials from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for their integral role in the release of these abused elephants. We are proud of our Ministry's recognition of animal cruelty and the prevention of such acts.

Furthermore, ZNSPCA extends its gratitude to elephant specialists Karen Trendler and Dr. Lucy Bates whose reports clearly indicated that these elephants had been subjected to cruelty. We acknowledge the role of Dr. A. Dube (BVSc Zim) who carried out the veterinary inspection of the elephants. These specialists' opinions, and the ZNSPCA Inspectorate reports have paved the way for a brighter future for these elephants.

This cruel capture resulted in ZNSPCA having numerous meetings with National Parks and it has been agreed that Parks will organise workshops with relevant stakeholders in order to address loopholes and prevent such incidents re-occurring in the Country. Controls and codes of conduct for the management of the remaining wild elephants in captivity will also be put in place. ZNSPCA commends National Parks on this positive move.

These ten elephants will require rehabilitation before they are released. Following advice on ownership issues from legal experts, the elephants will be released from the boma into Sondelani Ranch estate. ZNSPCA Inspectorate will be approaching relevant experts to assist with the rehabilitation of the ten elephants. ZNSPCA requires that all ten elephants be micro chipped before they are released in order to protect them in the future, that they may be traced any time. The public will be kept appraised of our progress.

Assistance was given by numerous other individuals throughout this challenging journey that the ZNSPCA had to take on behalf of these elephants, and we thank them all.

 

 

 

 

Glynis Vaughan

Chief Inspector

ZNSPCA

156 Enterprise Road, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe

P O Box CH55, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe

Phone: +263 4 497574

Fax: +263 4 497885


Thursday, 10 September 2009 13:11

The next CITES meeting will take place in March 2010 and may determine the future survival of elephants. The situation is now dire in many African elephant range states as the number of elephants slaughtered for their ivory soars, in some places escalating to levels only witnessed 20 to 30 years ago. This update from Science Daily is from August 2008 - and the situation is growing worse by the day. A recent article in Scientific American gives a detailed picture of the wholesale slaughter and can be read/downloaded if you are registered as a user on ElephantVoices. Everyone needs to make their voice heard!

Kenya, in concert with many countries, has for years taken a strong position against the ivory trade. With several failing states as neighbors, however, and no stranger to crime and corruption in high places herself, Kenya is suffering from an onslaught of poaching, and the grim stories are making headlines around the world.

Other countries, including neighboring Tanzania, are submitting proposals to CITES that could spell the end of elephant populations as we know them. The killing of elephants for their ivory is currently the cause of enormous losses in numbers as well as enormous suffering to individuals and their families, and many populations could go extinct during the next few years if something isn't done to reverse the trend. You can read more about the many dramatic consequences of poaching here.

You can help to stop the killing of elephants by ensuring that your country votes against any further sales of ivory and against any downlisting of populations at the next CITES meeting, and by supporting all good forces that work to stop the trade in ivory and its demand. The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in CITES will be held in Doha from 13 to 25 March 2010.

ElephantVoices standpoint is that all elephants should be on Appendix I of CITES and the commercial trade in ivory should be banned.

Tuesday, 03 November 2009 20:07

The Sondelani elephants sosializing before being transported back to freedom in Hwange National Park.We are so happy to tell you that nine elephants brutally caught and trained for elephant back safaris have been released in Hwange National Park. We have worked together with the ZNSPCA and other dedicated individuals and organizations over the last six months to secure the return to the wild of these elephants.

It has been tense, trying and even traumatic at times, and yet there have been deeply rewarding moments. The press release below shows a triumph of humanity - for elephants!


ZNSPCA Press statement of wild captured elephants

ZNSPCA takes great pleasure in reporting the successful release today into Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, of nine previously captured elephants. The release would not have been possible without the assistance and dedication of Vier-Pfoten International and their volunteers. Conservation Solutions were contracted to translocate the elephants and did so in a humane and professional manner with no loss of life or injury to the elephants.

ZNSPCA would like to take this opportunity to commend the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Honourable Minister Nhema, officials from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for their integral role in the release of these abused elephants.

Glynis Vaughan

Chief Inspector
ZNSPCA

Wednesday, 11 November 2009 08:23

Emily looks at Karen Trendler

ZNSPCA
Statement of Fact Regarding the Rescue
and Relocation of Nine Elephants

The Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA) would like to set the record straight regarding the recent elephant rescue project in which nine elephants were rescued and translocated from an elephant training ranch to Hwange National Park.

In April 2009, ZNSPCA discovered 10 African elephants on a ranch in West Nicholson that had been captured from the wild for the purpose of training for elephant back safaris. The elephants had been captured in October 2008 from Dubane Ranch in Matabeleland South.

Due to the evidence of cruelty involved in this training process submitted by ZNSPCA Inspectors, the Honourable Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema, ordered the elephants to be released and all training to be stopped.

In June 2009 one elephant, known as Dumasani who was five years old died.

The opinions of renowned Elephant Scientist Dr. Joyce Poole were sought and she confirmed that after substantial rehabilitation, the abused elephants should be able to be released into the wild. Dr. Poole’s input into this matter has been ongoing.

After negotiations by ZNSPCA with the ranch owner, it was agreed that the elephants would be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. In July 2009, ZNSPCA approached the Vier Pfoten (Four Paws) organisation for financial assistance to care for the elephants, as they were considering establishing a rehabilitation and release sanctuary within Zimbabwe. In August 2009, Vier Pfoten staff and volunteers teamed up with the ZNSPCA to assist in caring for and rehabilitating the nine elephants. Vier Pfoten contracted wildlife rehabilitator Karen Trendler, who had assisted the ZNSPCA with the initial report on the abused elephants, to work with the team to rehabilitate the animals.

ZNSPCA approached Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (NPWMA) regarding the abuse of these animals in order to prevent further cases of this nature from occurring. NPWMA agreed that stricter controls needed to be implemented in order to stop the capture of wild elephants for commercial use and NPWMA granted the ZNSPCA permission to move the elephants to Hwange National Park where they could live out their lives as wild animals.

ZNSPCA approached Conservation Solutions (a wildlife capture company) and requested them to move the elephants. Conservation Solutions assisted the ZNSPCA by fundraising for this move as well as other expenses incurred by the rescued animals. After reviewing the project, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) agreed to sponsor the relocation costs of the elephants. On the day of the move, the owner of the ranch read a press statement that was issued and insisted that IFAW pull out of the project.

Faced by the real possibility that the owner of the ranch would prevent the elephants being removed from the property, IFAW agreed to withdraw from the relocation and removed all personnel from assisting in the rescue. Their funding to pay for the relocation remains in place.

Conservation Solutions darted the elephants, fitted a satellite collar (with the assistance of Roger Parry from Wild Horizons Trust) on the oldest female elephant (Mary) and microchipped all the animals. Dr. Andre Uys from Conservation Solutions was the veterinarian in charge of the animals. The Micro chips were kindly donated by Identipet SA. Elephants without Borders donated two expired collars which considerably reduced the cost of Mary’s collar.

The elephants were successfully moved by Conservation Solutions to Hwange National Parks escorted by National Parks Senior Ecologist Rose Mandisodza and ZNSPCA Inspectors, where they were released off the transport truck into the wild. Facilitated by National Parks Warden Arthur Musakwa, the first sighting of the elephants was two days after their release and the small group were still together, showing no repercussions from their long journey and behaving like normal wild elephants.

Post release monitoring of this group will be conducted by National Parks and Wildlife Officials with the assistance of ZNSPCA. As the ZNSPCA have few personnel and are inexperienced in this field, we have approached Wild Horizons Trust and Elephants Without Borders to assist National Parks with the post release monitoring. Wildlife Specialist, Karen Trendler will also play an integral role in this process as she successfully rehabilitated the traumatised elephants. This case has huge scientific significance for other projects of similar nature world wide.

Without the dedication of the Vier Pfoten staff and volunteers over the last three months, and the donations received by numerous individuals and companies, and the advice of elephant scientist Joyce Poole the freedom of these elephants would not have been secured. For many years the ZNSPCA has relied on the support of National Council of SPCA in South Africa and its’ member Societies, and we thank them for that support which enabled ZNSPCA to keep open and deal with cases such as this one. Thank you to all our supporters and sponsors for their assistance.

Below is a map showing the movement of Mary and her small group in the last few days. The group has stayed within a 10km radius of the release site. Further updates of the “wild

Monday, 04 January 2010 08:42

You should see this very interesting segment on CBS' 60 Minutes - about the fascinating work of our colleagues Andrea Turkalo and researchers in the Elephant Listening Project. One day we hope to be able to compare the language of forest elephants and savannah elephants.

If you want to see our "dictionary" and listen to our "dictionary" and listen to savannah elephants - visit our online databases here.


Watch CBS News Videos Online
Friday, 29 January 2010 16:02

Copyright: WildAidIn this day and age the best way to do this is through the web, posting on Facebook and YouTube, sharing and cross-posting.The ivory trade is unsustainable. Elephants are in jeopardy because people covet their tusks. In a collaborative effort ElephantVoices is working to get the facts and figures out to decision-makers, and to spread the word in hopes of reaching potential buyers of ivory.

Over 80 celebrities have donated their time to public service announcements (PSAs) produced by our colleagues at WildAid. This organization is among the few with a substantial audience in a Facebook- and Google-free China - the country that is currently the biggest threat to elephants. Take a look at one of their PSAs about elephant, ivory and poaching starring famous Chinese basketball player, Yao Ming.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010 15:16

We wrote to AVAAZ months ago to encourage them to run a campaign against the ivory trade. Many others have obviously done the same, and we were yesterday thrilled to see their online campaign. AVAAZ has an enormous network of members and has the capacity to be heard. In just a day or so they have collected over 100,000 signatures. Let CITES members hear what we think about Tanzania's and Zambia's proposal for further sale of ivory!

Please sign on and send the message on to your friends.

Save the Elephants: STOP BLOODY IVORY!

Thursday, 11 March 2010 14:37

Science Opinion Piece 12. March 2010: Elephants, Ivory, and TradeTogether with 25 other scientists we have authored an opinion piece on the ivory trade for Science, which you can access on this page. You'll also find a press release from Drs. Sam Wasser, Andy Dobson, Katarzyna Nowak, Joyce Poole, and Petter Granli.

The piece argues that CITES' member states should reject the proposals from Tanzania and Zambia requesting further sale of ivory. CITES (CoP15) starts today, Saturday 13 March.

Science Opinion Piece, Volume 327, 12. March 2010: icon Elephants, Ivory, and Trade (395.07 kB)

"Scientists Oppose One-off Ivory Sales and Urge International Trade Decisions to Put Science above Politics": icon Press release Science Opinion Piece: Elephants, Ivory, and Trade (63.42 kB)

You will find quite a few links to media coverage related to the opinion piece in Science here.
Friday, 21 May 2010 05:12

During the last week the international media has published a number of negative reports about the "ghoulish" capture and imminent shipment from Zimbabwe to North Korea of wild species of animals captured in Hwange National Park. In a press conference in Harare on Wednesday 19 May, Director General of Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Vitalis Chadenga, reiterated that the impending export of elephants and five other species (giraffes, zebras, warthog, spotted hyenas and rock hyrax) is a “business arrangement

Monday, 24 May 2010 11:47

Many leading authorities on elephants, including scientists, conservationists, welfare experts and veterinarians, agree that elephants have no place in entertainment. Elephants are socially complex, keenly intelligent and vigorous animals who, by their very size and nature, are ill-suited to life in captivity. In the wild, they are on the move for 20 hours a day, exploring their environment, foraging, socializing, caring for their young, and searching for mates and distant friends and relations. Elephants live in an extensive social network that radiates out from the mother-offspring bond to include family, extended family, bond groups, clans, the entire population, including adult males, and even beyond to strangers. At the core of this network is the family in which females remain for life.

No room for error in the performance industry

From  Elephant  on Trampoline - Courtesy of Nicolas Deveaux.

The conditions forced upon elephants used in entertainment are inherently detrimental to individual welfare, since physical and social needs are always secondary to performance. Calves are torn from their mothers to be broken and intensively trained. By long tradition and often by necessity elephants are held in small pens or on chains and transported around in semi-trucks. On location they are often even further restricted. These conditions bear no semblance to an elephant’s natural lifestyle. Lack of space and companions, and physical and mental inactivity all have enormous consequences for the individual’s health and well-being over the course of a lifetime.

Training is a violent affair that begins when elephants are still babies; it is life-long and unrelenting, meant to break them and force them to be compliant and obedient. In the performance industry there can be no room for error with an animal as powerful and as intelligent as an elephant. To ensure that elephants perform consistently they are kept under the constant control of a handler. At the core of this control is the bullhook, a steel-tipped device similar to a fireplace poker that is used to prod, hook, jab (so-called “guiding”) and strike elephants. Even when not in use, the bullhook is a constant reminder of the pain and punishment that can be meted out at any time, for any reason. So powerful is the negative association with the bullhook that an elephant who has not even seen the device in years will respond immediately to its mere presence.

Films must be made without cruelty and harm

Training of elephants for the film industry is always secretive, performed at animal training compounds away from the main production to assure the total control and consistent performance that the handler needs once on the set. This also circumvents on-set monitoring by humane inspectors and scrutiny by actors and crew who might object to training practices.

The depth of knowledge we have as a society about elephants and their natural lives and needs, in concert with what we know about their suffering in captivity, should compel anyone in the film industry to use alternatives to live animals on the set. Surely, in this time of advanced film and computer-based technologies, including computer-generated imagery (CGI), VFX and animatronics, there is no reason to do otherwise. The amazing strides made in this area allow films to be realized without the cruelty or harm that exists, though it may not be seen on the set. In late March 2014 the film "Noah" premiered, where visionary filmmaker Darren Aronofsky shows what possible through the use of CGI. "It wouldn't make sense to make a film about saving animals while putting real animals in harm’s way on a film set, especially when cruelty-free technology is faster and easier and saves money", Aronofsky said in this exclusive interview. We obviously couldn't agree more.

In May 2010, ElephantVoices, PAWS and Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants wrote a joint letter (439.96 kB) to President Elisabeth Gabler and two others responsible for the film, "Water for Elephants," explaining why they should not use live elephants in the production. The book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen exposes the abuse of people and animals by the circus, yet by using live animals in the production, the film condones such ill treatment. Perhaps we wrote too late for them to change their plans, or perhaps they don't care or disagree - we did not receive an answer and shooting started a couple of weeks afterwards with live animals.


Patty Shenker produced this excellent piece with late Pat Derby at PAWS, giving the main reasons why animals
should not perform in films. Both lions and elephants are mentioned - the facts and arguments are the same.

ElephantVoices' standpoint is that the use of trained elephants in films and other form of entertainment is abusive and should be forbidden.

Monday, 24 May 2010 15:24

We just uploaded a new page under section Elephant Interests that you might like to read - Elephants in TV and film. Many leading authorities on elephants, including scientists, conservationists, welfare experts and veterinarians, agree that elephants have no place in entertainment.

From  Elephant on Trampoline - Courtesy of Nicolas Deveaux.The conditions forced upon elephants used in entertainment are inherently detrimental to individual welfare, since physical and social needs are always secondary to performance. Calves are torn from their mothers to be broken and intensively trained. By long tradition and often by necessity elephants are held in small pens or on chains and transported around in semi-trucks. On location they are often even further restricted. These conditions bear no semblance to an elephant’s natural lifestyle. Lack of space and companions, and physical and mental inactivity all have enormous consequences for the individual’s health and well-being over the course of a lifetime.

You will find the page here, with link to letter recently sent to the producers of the upcoming film "Water for Elephants" presenting the arguments for not using live elephants in this (or any other) TV or film production.

Cheers, Petter

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 09:48

On 12th May Joyce Poole was interviewed on Talking Animals.

She discusses elephant behavior and communication, and our responsibility for their well being.

She also touches on the fate of Boo (alias Queenie) and Lucky in the San Antonio Zoo.

You can listen to the interview via the below media player.

Joyce on Talking Animals {audio}Talking_Animals_Audio_Archive_Joyce_Poole.mp3{/audio}
Friday, 28 May 2010 00:00

Front  page  letter Mr. ChadengaA week ago we posted Zimbabwe captures elephants and creates an angry storm - and along with many others we keep hoping that Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority will cancel its plans for further captures in Hwange National Park and the shipment of these animals to North Korea. Its been amazing to see how many people have written to us to express their disgust with the authority's plans - especially moving have been some of the e-mails from Zimbabweans.

On 21st May Joyce did an interview with SW Radio Africa about the captured elephants. You can listen to the interview below - after buffering move to 23.15 to go directly to where the interview starts.
{audio}swradio_africa_210510.mp3{/audio}

For those of you who have not seen the open letter (180.02 kB) that more than 50 organisations from around the world signed on to, click on the letter to the right. Pass it on to as many people as you will!

If you want to sign a petition you can do so here.

Saturday, 29 May 2010 07:53

On May 28th we were asked to talk to WFAA TV in Texas about the stereotypic behavior of Jenny, an elephant at the Dallas Zoo and, since we have written about icon her before (159.39 kB), we agreed.

In the course of the interview, part of which was aired the same day on WFAA TV, Joyce, mentioned being surprised by the Zoo's use of the expression "let elephants be elephants" in the context of their new 5-6 acre elephant exhibit. And that is where the controversy erupted.
This phrase is one that Joyce has used for years to refer to the kind of space elephants need to keep from becoming bored and frustrated in captivity: Space that allows elephants to form families and raise their young;
- to separate for hours and then use their sense of smell and long distance hearing to find one another again;
- space that allows elephants to forage, to browse and to graze, naturally;
- space that allows females to socialize with males, now and again;
- space that keeps them fully engaged.

(See Mind and Movement: Meeting the Interests of Elephants.)

So, when the Dallas Zoo co-opted this phrase for a 5-6 acre exhibit that will hold six elephants and doesn't have any natural vegetation, it seemed, to us, a misuse of "our" term. If the Dallas Zoo actually believes that this space will allow elephant to be elephants, then we respectfully suggest that they spend more time learning about the lives of wild elephants. We simply do not agree and felt it necessary to say so.

We understand that this is all about marketing - but AZA institutions are in the habit of providing the public with misinformation about elephants; zoos need to use sounder science and be more careful with their statements.

While we are disappointed that no zoo so far has used the multi-millions of dollars raised for an elephant exhibits that really would allow elephants to really be elephants, we are always happy to see conditions improved for individuals. And the new exhibit is certainly a great improvement for Jenny - and the other elephants who will share the space with her.

We continue to challenge the AZA to create landscapes rather than "exhibits" that will give elephants the real freedom to live their lives as elephants. It can be done.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010 00:00

Science Opinion Piece 12. March 2010: Elephants, Ivory, and TradeOn the day before the CITES (CoP15) meeting opened in Doha in March, we published an opinion piece against the ivory trade together with 25 other scientists. The piece, published in the Policy Forum section of Science, was entitled, Elephants, Ivory, and Trade (395.07 kB).

In the 25 June 2010 issue of Science you can read a rebuttal by John Frederick Walker and Dan Stiles. In the same edition several of us - Samuel Wasser, Katarzyna Nowak, Joyce Poole, John Hart, Rene Beyers, Phyllis Lee, Keith Lindsay, Gardner Brown, Petter Granli and Andrew Dobson have written a response to their arguments. You can read and download both the rebuttal and our response here (507.73 kB).

Our initial piece argued that CITES' member states should reject the proposals from Tanzania and Zambia requesting down listing of their elephant populations and further sales of ivory. After a heated debate this is, indeed, what happened.

 

 

Thursday, 29 July 2010 00:00

We're certain that those of you who know about world-famous Echo, the late matriarch of the EB family, will enjoy some more time with her. As many of you are aware of, the EBs were our study group, so we are particularly fond of this wonderful and engaging family. You can watch a new documentary on BBC2 5th August at 8 PM (England) - a celebration of the life and legacy of Echo, who was born in 1945 and died in 2009. BBC's Natural World followed this very special elephant for the last 20 years of her life. The documentary will be shown on PBS on 17th October - stay tuned for more information.

The film reflects on the life of a remarkable elephant and discovers what happens to the family, bereft of Echo's leadership after half a century with her as their matriarch. You can find some interviews, video clips and photos related to "Echo an Unforgettable Elephant" here. A short teaser related to this program, introduced by Sir David Attenborough, is included below.

You can view some more photos of her, and listen to her voice, here. The photos and recordings on this page are from the work of ElephantVoices, partly incorporated in our online databases.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010 00:00

We're certain that those of you who know about world-famous Echo, the late matriarch of the EB family, will enjoy some more time with her. As many of you are aware of, the EBs were our main study group for several years, so we are particularly fond of this wonderful and engaging family.

You can watch a celebration of the life and legacy of Echo, who was born in 1945 and died in 2009, on PBS' Nature on Sunday, October 17, at 8 p.m. (check local listings). BBC's Natural World followed this very special elephant for the last 20 years of her life - you can see how Sir David Attenborough introduced BBC's version ("Echo an Unforgettable Elephant") here.

In this final chapter of Echo's story, Nature looks back at her remarkable journey, and takes a look ahead at the future awaiting her family. This poignant portrait pieces together watershed moments in Echo's life and examines the plight of her fragmented family in the wake of her death. You can find some interviews, video clips and photos related to the BBC version here.

You can view some more photos of Echo, and listen to her voice, here. The photos and recordings on this page are from the work of ElephantVoices, partly incorporated in our online databases.

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.

Monday, 21 March 2011 00:00

"Leadership in elephants: the adaptive value of age (335.01 kB)", was published online in Proceedings of the Royal Society B on 16 March 2011. Joyce was one of the authors of the paper in a study led by Karen McComb in Amboseli as part of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project. The research shows, once again, the importance of older leaders in elephant society. Unfortunately, because older elephants tend to have larger tusks, and because they come to the fore in defence of their families, they are precisely the individuals targeted by poachers. Protecting the lives of these wise leaders of elephant society is one more reason to put an end to the gruesome trade in the teeth of these intelligent animals.

Abstract: The value of age is well recognized in human societies, where older individuals often emerge as leaders in tasks requiring specialized knowledge, but what part do such individuals play in other social species? Despite growing interest in how effective leadership might be achieved in animal social systems, the specific role that older leaders may play in decision-making has rarely been experimentally investigated. Here, we use a novel playback paradigm to demonstrate that in African elephants (Loxodonta africana), age affects the ability of matriarchs to make ecologically relevant decisions in a domain critical to survival— the assessment of predatory threat. While groups consistently adjust their defensive behaviour to the greater threat of three roaring lions versus one, families with younger matriarchs typically under-react to roars from male lions despite the severe danger they represent. Sensitivity to this key threat increases with matriarch age and is greatest for the oldest matriarchs, who are likely to have accumulated the most experience. Our study provides the first empirical evidence that individuals within a social group may derive significant benefits from the influence of an older leader because of their enhanced ability to make crucial decisions about predatory threat, generating important insights into selection for longevity in cognitively advanced social mammals.

Authors of the paper are Karen McComb, Graeme Shannon, Sarah M. Durant, Katito Sayialel, Rob Slotow, Joyce Poole and Cynthia Moss.

The paper has been presented in numerous media around the world - you will find this article with video (with late Echo and her family) on BBC Earth - Older female elephants are wiser matriarchs.

One of ElephantVoices' lion playbacks from 2005 showing the importance of older matriarchs at times when decision-making affects survival. Chloe and her family are startled by the sounds of nearby lions. They bunch together in self defense, and then matriarch, Chloe, takes the lead to inspect the lions. She moves forward, with a determined, aggressive posture, and then signals to her family to join her in the attack. Photos/editing by Petter Granli, narration by Joyce Poole, ElephantVoices.

Friday, 10 June 2011 09:19

Link to ElephantVoices Gestures Database. Image shows Post-Copulatory-Stance: A mated female stepping forward Head-Raising, Ear-Lifting, Tail-Raising and Rapid-Ear-Flapping, streaming Temporin and with Mouth-Open calls with a powerful series of characteristic rumbles. The female alternatively turns toward the male and reaches her trunk to touch his penis (Test-Genitals) or semen on the ground (Test-Semen) and then again turns rapidly outward and upward (away from the male; probably to ensure long-distance advertisement of availability; this would also qualify as a form of Spinning) Ear-Lifting, Tail-Raising and Rapid-Ear-Flapping and with Mouth-Open calls loudly and repeatedly at lengthening intervals and diminishing sound pressure levels. These extremely powerful and characteristic calls attract the attention of distant males and may be repeated for up to 45 minutes. Copyright: ElephantVoicesWe like to share with you some media articles on The Amboseli elephants: A long-term perspective on a long-lived mammal. We are delighted to see a focus on our particular contributions to the book - our chapters on elephant postures and gestures and vocal communication.

The Amboseli book has been very well received. We hope that many of you will feel it is a "must have" - also knowing that all royalties from this book goes straight to Amboseli Trust for Elephants. The Amboseli Elephant Research Project really is the benchmark study of African elephants and this book documents the many discoveries that have been made over almost four decades of monitoring and research. The findings and continued work of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project is of major importance for all efforts related to elephants and elephant conservation around the world.

You can read and download the articles mentioned through the links below:

icon New Scientist: Nature's great masterpiece. Opinion interview Cynthia Moss. (607.98 kB)

icon Mail Online: Squabbles over directions, rows and discussions: How the elephant world mirrors our own (405.7 kB)

icon Sunday Times: Chats, flirting and travel rows - Jumbo is just like us. (198.51 kB)

Visit ElephantVoices online databases related to gestures and communication:

ElephantVoices Gestures Database

ElephantVoices Call Database - Call Types

ElephantVoices Call Database - Contexts

The long-awaited scientific book, The Amboseli elephants: A long-term perspective on a long-lived mammal, was launched in February 2011. All royalties from the book go to Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

ElephantVoices' Joyce and/or Petter have contributed to six chapters in the book including:

  • Ethical approaches to elephant conservation
  • The behavioral context of African elephant acoustic communication
  • Signals, gestures and behaviors of African elephants
  • Longevity, competition and musth: A long-term perspective on male reproductive strategies
  • Male social dynamics: Independence and beyond
  • Decision-making and leadership in the using the ecosystem


By using this link to buy the book you
also support ElephantVoices
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 09:30

Link to War Elephants on National Geographic.comElephantVoices' Joyce and Petter will be "on the road" in the US for three weeks during March 2012, with a premiere screening of an upcoming National Geographic Wild documentary, and lectures and other events promoting elephants and the work of ElephantVoices, on the agenda. You will find more details about each open event and how to attend below. We hope to see many of you during our short 10th Anniversary Tour!

Premiere screening of "War Elephants", Washington DC, 14 March

National Geographic LIVE! invites for a premiere screening of "War Elephants" in Washington DC on Wednesday 14 March, an upcoming documentary featuring the elephants of Gorongosa, Mozambique, Joyce Poole and her brother, cinematographer Bob Poole. The screening in Grosvenor Auditorium (at 7:30 p.m.) will be followed by a discussion with the Pooles, NGTV Sr. Producer David Hamlin, and Mateus Mutemba, Gorongosa National Park Administrator. You can buy tickets via this page.

Benefit for ElephantVoices in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, Sunday 18 March

On Sunday 18 March Patty Shenker and Doug Stoll will very generously host a reception at their home once again. We invite you to a VIP Reception at 2:00 p.m., and an Event Reception & Presentation from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. You will find an invitation with all necessary information on how to attend here.

ElephantVoices lecture in Sausalito, Sunday 25 March

Our enormously generous board member Coco Hall will host another event at her home in Sausalito on Sunday 25 March, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. You will find an invitation with all necessary information here.

Lectures during PAWS Summit for the elephants, Oakland Zoo, 28 to 30 March

Oakland Zoo will host PAWS SUMMIT FOR THE ELEPHANTS 2012 from 28 to 30 March. Joyce Poole and Petter Granli will hold 3 lectures during the Summit - all 3 on the last day 30 March. You can go through the conference schedule here.

Lecture Colorado College, Wednesday March 28

On 28 March, 6:30 p.m, Joyce Poole will give a lecture at Colorado College, Armstrong Hall Theater. The title is: Nature's great masterpiece: Stories of elephants.

You can open a poster with further details by clicking on the image to the left.

 

Help SUPPORT and PROTECT the Mara elephants - NAME THEM!

By providing the possibility for the public to name elephants we hope to bind together a community of people who care for the Mara elephants - those people living in the Mara who are monitoring and protecting elephants and those who live far away whose donations support the project! Giving names to individual elephants helps people to remember who is who and fosters a heart-felt connection for individuals.

To name an elephant look through the Mara Elephant Who's Who database and choose an elephant, who has not already been named, and who you would like to name. Click the "I'd like to name this elephant" link on the ID card for that particular elephant. An approved name will appear in the Mara Elephant Who's Who database, and the name of the person having given the name will also show.

Educational outreach, including local scholarships, will be of high priority in the allocation of donations through the Name an Mara Elephant program.

Link to ElephantVoices - Name an Elephant

Click on image to read more - support the Mara Elephants!

Friday, 13 April 2012 00:00

The National Geographic documentary War Elephants is due to air in the US on National Geographic Wild on Sunday, 22 April 2012, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. A Nat Geo Live! premiere screening took place in Washington DC on 14 March, also announced on National Geographics Explorers Journal. The film led to several other media activities, such as an interview on Animal House and a live conversation on National Geographic Facebook page on 13 March, embedded at the bottom of this page. You can see a clip from the film through this link - with Joyce "Talking To The Elephants".

A few days after the screening on 14th March the documentary won a prestigous award in Sun Valley Film Festival - ONE IN A MILLION. This award honors feature length stories made for under a million dollars. War Elephants furthermore received merits for cinematography and wildlife behavior at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Montana. On 20th April Bob Poole will talk about War Elephants on ABC Nightline. You may want to visit The Independent's Traveller's Guide: Mozambique, to read more about this fascinating country.

About War Elephants on National Geographic's website:
"In Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, elephants are in crisis: Years of civil war and ivory poaching have left them frightened and hostile toward humans. In a new National Geographic Television film, the world’s foremost elephant researcher Dr. Joyce Poole, in a documentary by her brother, cameraman Bob Poole, works to build trust and retrain the animals away from their violent behavior."

Below you will find when War Elephants will be shown in different countries. The following countries are included under "Nat Geo Wild HD Eur Intl Feed", air time 3 June at 15.00: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greece, Georgia, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosavo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe), Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

War Elephants air time
Air time War Elephants - National Geographic Wild

People from 55 countries joined Joyce and Meigan Goodyer Henry in a live conversation on National Geographic Facebooks page, Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

People could ask questions during the conversation - or post them on a National Geographic blog post.

Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:08

On April 22nd 2012, Gay Bradshaw posted an article in her blog in Psychology Today critiquing War Elephants and Joyce Poole's role in it. Here is Joyce's response to it.

Dear Gay,

I awoke this morning to an email from a colleague who has done more to highlight the plight of elephants than almost anyone I know. It read: "I presume you saw this. I am so sorry. How ignorant of her. If it makes any difference, I saw the NGS film and was proud to know you. Hang in there.

Thursday, 31 May 2012 00:00

The National Geographic documentary War Elephants is due to air in most countries in Europe and Africa on Sunday 3rd June 2012, on National Geographic Wild. The US premiere was on 22 April. A Nat Geo Live! premiere screening took place in Washington DC on 14 March 2012, also announced on National Geographics Explorers Journal. The documentary led to several other media activities, such as an interview on Animal House and a live conversation on National Geographic Facebook page on 13 March, embedded at the bottom of this page. You can see a clip from the film through this link - with Joyce "Talking To The Elephants".

A few days after the screening on 14th March the documentary won a prestigous award in Sun Valley Film Festival - ONE IN A MILLION. This award honors feature length stories made for under a million dollars. War Elephants furthermore received merits for cinematography and wildlife behavior at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Montana. On 20th April Bob Poole talked about War Elephants on ABC Nightline. You may want to visit The Independent's Traveller's Guide: Mozambique, to read more about this fascinating country.

About War Elephants on National Geographic's website:
"In Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, elephants are in crisis: Years of civil war and ivory poaching have left them frightened and hostile toward humans. In a new National Geographic Television film, the world’s foremost elephant researcher Dr. Joyce Poole, in a documentary by her brother, cameraman Bob Poole, works to build trust and retrain the animals away from their violent behavior."

Below you will find when War Elephants will be shown in different countries. The following countries are included under "Nat Geo Wild HD Eur Intl Feed", air time 3 June at 15.00: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greece, Georgia, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosavo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe), Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

War Elephants air time
Air time War Elephants - National Geographic Wild

People from 55 countries joined Joyce and Meigan Goodyer Henry in a live conversation on National Geographic Facebooks page, Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

People could ask questions during the conversation - or post them on a National Geographic blog post.

Monday, 22 April 2013 07:19

The powerful, thought-provoking HBO-documentary An Apology To Elephants debuts on Earth Day on HBO & HBO GO' in the US, Monday 22 April, 7:00-7:45 ET/PT. The film explores the beauty and intelligence of elephants, and tells the troubling story of their exploitation in captivity.

An Apology to Elephants is a call for compassion and better treatment, and a plea to save what's left of the wild in our world.

ElephantVoices' Joyce Poole are among those presenting what elephants are about, and why they don't thrive in captivity.

You can watch the trailer for An Apology to Elephants through this link, or at the bottom of this page, read the synopsis here and set a reminder by clicking on the screenshot to the right. You should know that all these pages may take quite a few seconds to load.

This is what The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the film - "A succinct, graceful argument to save an endangered species."

The film will be aired also in some countries outside the US, and we will update this page when we have more information.

 

 

Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00

When this is posted Joyce is on her way to China. A couple of hours after her arrival in Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon (14th June) she will hold a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society. During her 10 day visit to Hong Kong and mainland China - to Shenzhen and Beijing - she will hold 4 lectures and several meetings. She will also meet up with representatives of the Chinese media - all with the objective to spread the word about what is happening to Africa's elephants and promoting the need for superpower China to be part of the solution.

She will furthermore talk about why the export of baby elephants from Africa to zoo's around the world is a very bad idea. China has a lot to gain by helping Africa to protect its wildlife, particularly as a big investor on the African continent. The economy and stability of many African countries are threatened along with their elephants - tourism, work places and biodiversity will be severely impacted if the killings of elephants continue. ElephantVoices' goal during Joyce's visit is not to throw accusations - but to share the facts about the dramatic increase in demand for ivory and the disastrous consequences for the forests and savannas of Africa.

Joyce will also talk about ElephantVoices ivory trade campaign - Every Tusk Costs a Life. She is bringing with her the campaign posters. We would be very grateful if during her stay in China you would share our campaign with friends - and we would be thrilled if you used the campaign material on top of your Facebook page from Friday 15 June and the rest of the following week. The 6 versions of the artwork are all prepared in the correct size - you can download them all either below or "take them" from ElephantVoices on Facebook!

Act NOW. The writing is on the wall for elephants!

icon EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE - FACEBOOK DAY 1 (81.95 kB)

icon EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE - FACEBOOK DAY 2 (42.31 kB)

icon EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE - FACEBOOK DAY 3 (81.95 kB)

icon EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE - FACEBOOK DAY 4 (41.83 kB)

icon EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE - FACEBOOK DAY 5 (93.73 kB)

icon EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE - FACEBOOK DAY 6 (48.69 kB)

You can download all the original campaign files via this link, and use them for any non-commercial purpose meant to reduce the global trade in ivory and poaching of elephants. Read more about the campaign and the artwork by Asher Jay on this page.

Friday, 05 July 2013 00:00

In June, faciliated by the Humane Society International, I was invited by the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) to attend a two day meeting of 47 Chinese Zoo Directors in Shenzhen, China. My invitation followed the bad press that China received in relation to the importation of baby elephants from Zimbabwe late last year. At least one of these babies died and another became seriously ill. Zimbabwe had earlier given assurances that it would stop the capture of baby elephants for captivity and the news of the shipment and deaths and rumour that more babies were awaiting capture and export, prompted an international outcry.

The CAGZ was eager not to be caught up in such exposure again and I was asked to give a 90 minute presentation on the topic of "The Importance of Animal Behavior in Import Decisions". The trip to China offered an excellent opportunity to also speak about another topic involving elephants and China and Petter and I decided that I should extend my stay to include Hong Kong and Beijing to talk about elephants, poaching and the ivory trade.

I arrived in Hong Kong on the afternoon 14 June and that evening gave a lecture on elephants and the ivory trade at the Royal Geographical Society and an interview with Jennifer Ngo of the South China Morning Post (click for headline). Jennifer’s article was picked up by The Daily Mail and also the New York Times and Asia News.

The following morning, 15 June, I was interviewed by freelance journalist, Kate Whitehead, and by Joyee Chan, who wrote an article for the Young Readers edition of the South China Morning Post published on 2 July.

That afternoon in a Starbucks in Kowloon was the first meeting of a loose group of people who are keen to do something to stop the trafficking of ivory through Hong Kong and into China. In the photographs below from left to right Christian Pilard (Eco-Sys Action Foundation), Joyce Lau and Victoria Chin (both Jane Goodall Institute), Alex Hofford (Conservation Photo journalist), Joyce Poole (ElephantVoices) and Iris Ho (Humane Society International). Alex took some photos while showing me a couple of ivory outlets in Hong Kong - I wasn't amused.

Celia Ho, the "Elephant Girl" arrived soon afterwards and we had a really nice meeting just the two of us, in which she presented me with an origami elephants with the words “Every Tusk Costs a Life, Don’t Buy Ivory” written on it.

The following morning, 16 June, Iris Ho and I took the train to the border and crossed into mainland China and on to the Zoo Director’s meeting in Shenzhen. I spoke to the Directors on 18 June, using the occasion to introduce the audience to elephant society and behavior, why the capture and importation of baby elephants is a very bad idea and why elephants don’t do well in captivity. You'll find my summary slide here. I also asked the Zoo Directors to educate their visitors not to buy ivory - but it is fair to say that they didn't particularly like the Every Tusk Costs a Life campaign artwork I showed them. I was forgiven, one of them said, for not knowing that the artwork spelled China in Mandarin...

On 19th I flew from Shenzhen in southern China to Beijing, where I spent the last four days of my China trip, primarily in the care of IFAW and, most particularly, Qi Zhang, or “Sabrina”. She came to meet me at my hotel that evening and took me on my only real touristic experience, which was a delicious meal at a classic Chinese restaurant, a visit to Tianamen Square and a drive through a hutong by bicycle rickshaw.

On the morning 20th I was met at my hotel by Chunmei Hu, a young Chinese student who has just graduated from Veterinary School and hopes to work in an animal rescue center. I had "met" Chunmei via email earlier in the year when the news of the death of the Zimbabwean baby elephant broke in China and made waves around the world. Chunmei and I have been corresponding since then about the plight of elephants in Chinese Zoos, and she wanted me to speak at a symposium of Zoo Watch China. She took me out to lunch prior to the gathering where I met some of her animal welfare colleagues including Prof. Ping Mang from the Academy of Chinese Culture.

Professor Mang coordinated the symposium which included several presentations on the state of elephants in Chinese Zoos as well as some of the legal problems related to the law - or lack thereof - for animal protection. The photographs and videos that were shown were completely heartbreaking. It may be a good thing that I didn’t see them before I gave my talk to the Zoo Directors. I had been given clear instructions not to mention any Chinese elephant welfare examples, to avoid embarrassing the Directors, but I don’t think I would have been able to keep silent had I seen the images first. The symposium was well attended by journalists and I gave a couple of interviews after the Symposium including with China Daily, also covered in it's US version and the Global Times.

The schedule of 21 June began at 10:00 a.m. with a meeting with the Head of the Department of Wild Animal Protection and the Head and Deputy Head of the Division of Wild Animal Conservation and Management to discuss the ivory trade. It took quite a bit of effort to achieve the meeting and I had been forewarned that this Ministry, which is home to both the CITES Managament Authority and the CAZG, is known for being very conservative on issues related to animal welfare and ivory trade. When I broached the topic of China’s involvement in the illegal ivory trade they responded with a list of arguments that can only be read as denial.

For example, I was told that since 1900 colonials killed 8 million of Africa’s elephants; that some 800 tons of ivory is being traded on the Internet by the United States and other countries masquerading as pre-ban ivory; China has very good law enforcement/regulations and, therefore, it is not China that is at fault, but her neighboring countries; rumors of the hoarding of ivory and rumors of high prices are killing the elephant, not China (i.e. it is rumor-mongering that is leading to escalated poaching not facts); and when I asked how they were going to meet CITES recommendation to reduce demand, I was told that China has good education to restrict people to purchasing just legal stock.

The meeting was useful in that I learned that to change the status quo we cannot rely on bureaucrats associated with China's CITES Management Authority. I was reminded again that CITES is an international body mandated to regulate trade in wildlife products; it is not a wildlife conservation body. These individuals are too pro trade to be able to admit that their Ministry is failing to control the ivory trade, nor to be able to see that that failure is ruining China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.

The meeting was followed by four interviews all organized by IFAW China - the first with CCTV, followed by a radio interview with China Radio International, then another with China Daily and, finally, an unusual and interesting interview with an engaging journalist, Gao Wenxing, of the China Philanthropy Times, which falls under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

In the meantime, on the same day, far away in the Philippines, the crushing of a five-ton ivory stockpile was underway. This event was covered by the New York Times, which made mention of my trip.

On my last day in Beijing, 22 June, I gave a final lecture which was held in the Auditorium of the National Academy of Sciences. The event was organized by IFAW and their team coordinated by Sabrina did a fantastic job. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to the Academy of Sciences and there, attached securely to the side of the building, was the most enormous banner announcing the lecture with pictures of elephants and me:-).

As I was speaking to the interpreter in a side room, the air suddenly began to vibrate with the sound of “Ele-Beats”. Sabrina had found it on our website and downloaded it for people to listen to as they registered. There was no need to check the sound system – the woofers were certainly fit for low frequency elephant rumbles! When I walked into the 300-seat auditorium I had my next surprise. The screen was enormous – stretching the entire width of the room and Sabrina and the IFAW team had put together a slide show of elephants and the history of Joyce. I was astonished!

As “Ele-Beats” played on and on (and on!), the auditorium gradually filled up with parents and small children, primary school and secondary school students, teachers, scientists, professors, members of the press and Li Bingbing’s assistant, Eline, whom I had been looking forward to meeting. And then it was time to speak to this vibrant crowd.

Grace Gabriel had organized a panel discussion afterwards and time for Q&A. So when I had finished speaking Grace, Jie Yu of the Nature Conservancy (who co-sponsored the talk with IFAW) and CCTV Host, Yue Zhang, (introduced to me as "China’s Oprah Winfrey" as I was to soon understood why!), joined me on stage. Yue Zhang spoke passionately about elephants and other animals and did a fantastic job of leading the questions and keeping the discussion lively. That hour-long Q&A was my next China surprise. I was blown-away by the caliber of questions from the audience – from both young and old, layman and professional. I have given many talks, but this was the most intelligent and compassionate audience I have ever had the pleasure to engage with.

So what did I learn and ElephantVoices achieve? And what can YOU do? I went to China not knowing what to expect. I, admittedly, went in despair over the elephant poaching horror and China's key role in it confirmed by facts and figures of ivory shipments from well reputed sources. The sad situation simply cannot be denied, even though many government officials are trying to do so. I am more convinced than ever before that ALL trade must be banned, to send the clear signals so much needed.

It is obviously impossible to know if my lectures, meetings and the many headlines that have followed have made any impression on those in power. However, having met so many outward and forward looking, curious people who care deeply about the world they inhabit, I have come away with more optimism.

We all know that the effort to educate people about the connection between the purchase of ivory and the killing of elephants needs to be widespread and massive. And we urgently need the Chinese government to be loud and clear in communicating that it is shameful and embarrassing for China to be seen by the global community as responsible for the buying of body parts that, accumulated, leaves tens of thousands of elephants dead in Africa every year. As a colossal investor in Africa, China has a lot to lose if the death and destruction continues. We can only dare to hope that those behind China's new "soft power" approach will take the lead in turning the fate of elephants around. We will all lose part of our pride, and our soul, if the killing of elephants doesn't stop.

You can be part of the tsunami needed to create change - to save elephants. You may not be able to inspire more diplomatic approaches, but you can write on Facebook, get a friend to post on Weibo, contact your politician, talk to a journalist - and participate in upcoming marches and other arrangements focusing on the ivory trade and what urgently should be done. In any way you can, try to ensure that the message is shared in a medium that can reach someone in China. Please include information that people should know about in that regard in the comment field below this blog post. Your suggestions and thoughts are welcome!

I'd like to send a warm Thank You to all my new friends in Hong Kong and mainland China - the hospitality and kind and efficient efforts by so many made a huge difference to my busy program. A special thank you to Jacqueline and William Furniss for hosting me in Hong Kong, and to the Humane Society International and International Fund for Animal Welfare for inspiration and support.

Trumpets,
Joyce signature.

Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:08

On April 22nd 2012, Gay Bradshaw posted an article in her blog in Psychology Today critiquing War Elephants and Joyce Poole's role in it. Here is Joyce's response to it.

Dear Gay,

I awoke this morning to an email from a colleague who has done more to highlight the plight of elephants than almost anyone I know. It read: "I presume you saw this. I am so sorry. How ignorant of her. If it makes any difference, I saw the NGS film and was proud to know you. Hang in there.

Friday, 13 April 2012 00:00

The National Geographic documentary War Elephants is due to air in the US on National Geographic Wild on Sunday, 22 April 2012, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. A Nat Geo Live! premiere screening took place in Washington DC on 14 March, also announced on National Geographics Explorers Journal. The film led to several other media activities, such as an interview on Animal House and a live conversation on National Geographic Facebook page on 13 March, embedded at the bottom of this page. You can see a clip from the film through this link - with Joyce "Talking To The Elephants".

A few days after the screening on 14th March the documentary won a prestigous award in Sun Valley Film Festival - ONE IN A MILLION. This award honors feature length stories made for under a million dollars. War Elephants furthermore received merits for cinematography and wildlife behavior at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Montana. On 20th April Bob Poole will talk about War Elephants on ABC Nightline. You may want to visit The Independent's Traveller's Guide: Mozambique, to read more about this fascinating country.

About War Elephants on National Geographic's website:
"In Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, elephants are in crisis: Years of civil war and ivory poaching have left them frightened and hostile toward humans. In a new National Geographic Television film, the world’s foremost elephant researcher Dr. Joyce Poole, in a documentary by her brother, cameraman Bob Poole, works to build trust and retrain the animals away from their violent behavior."

Below you will find when War Elephants will be shown in different countries. The following countries are included under "Nat Geo Wild HD Eur Intl Feed", air time 3 June at 15.00: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greece, Georgia, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosavo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe), Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

War Elephants air time
Air time War Elephants - National Geographic Wild

People from 55 countries joined Joyce and Meigan Goodyer Henry in a live conversation on National Geographic Facebooks page, Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

People could ask questions during the conversation - or post them on a National Geographic blog post.

Friday, 10 June 2011 09:19

Link to ElephantVoices Gestures Database. Image shows Post-Copulatory-Stance: A mated female stepping forward Head-Raising, Ear-Lifting, Tail-Raising and Rapid-Ear-Flapping, streaming Temporin and with Mouth-Open calls with a powerful series of characteristic rumbles. The female alternatively turns toward the male and reaches her trunk to touch his penis (Test-Genitals) or semen on the ground (Test-Semen) and then again turns rapidly outward and upward (away from the male; probably to ensure long-distance advertisement of availability; this would also qualify as a form of Spinning) Ear-Lifting, Tail-Raising and Rapid-Ear-Flapping and with Mouth-Open calls loudly and repeatedly at lengthening intervals and diminishing sound pressure levels. These extremely powerful and characteristic calls attract the attention of distant males and may be repeated for up to 45 minutes. Copyright: ElephantVoicesWe like to share with you some media articles on The Amboseli elephants: A long-term perspective on a long-lived mammal. We are delighted to see a focus on our particular contributions to the book - our chapters on elephant postures and gestures and vocal communication.

The Amboseli book has been very well received. We hope that many of you will feel it is a "must have" - also knowing that all royalties from this book goes straight to Amboseli Trust for Elephants. The Amboseli Elephant Research Project really is the benchmark study of African elephants and this book documents the many discoveries that have been made over almost four decades of monitoring and research. The findings and continued work of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project is of major importance for all efforts related to elephants and elephant conservation around the world.

You can read and download the articles mentioned through the links below:

icon New Scientist: Nature's great masterpiece. Opinion interview Cynthia Moss. (607.98 kB)

icon Mail Online: Squabbles over directions, rows and discussions: How the elephant world mirrors our own (405.7 kB)

icon Sunday Times: Chats, flirting and travel rows - Jumbo is just like us. (198.51 kB)

Visit ElephantVoices online databases related to gestures and communication:

ElephantVoices Gestures Database

ElephantVoices Call Database - Call Types

ElephantVoices Call Database - Contexts

The long-awaited scientific book, The Amboseli elephants: A long-term perspective on a long-lived mammal, was launched in February 2011. All royalties from the book go to Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

ElephantVoices' Joyce and/or Petter have contributed to six chapters in the book including:

  • Ethical approaches to elephant conservation
  • The behavioral context of African elephant acoustic communication
  • Signals, gestures and behaviors of African elephants
  • Longevity, competition and musth: A long-term perspective on male reproductive strategies
  • Male social dynamics: Independence and beyond
  • Decision-making and leadership in the using the ecosystem


By using this link to buy the book you
also support ElephantVoices
Thursday, 29 July 2010 00:00

We're certain that those of you who know about world-famous Echo, the late matriarch of the EB family, will enjoy some more time with her. As many of you are aware of, the EBs were our study group, so we are particularly fond of this wonderful and engaging family. You can watch a new documentary on BBC2 5th August at 8 PM (England) - a celebration of the life and legacy of Echo, who was born in 1945 and died in 2009. BBC's Natural World followed this very special elephant for the last 20 years of her life. The documentary will be shown on PBS on 17th October - stay tuned for more information.

The film reflects on the life of a remarkable elephant and discovers what happens to the family, bereft of Echo's leadership after half a century with her as their matriarch. You can find some interviews, video clips and photos related to "Echo an Unforgettable Elephant" here. A short teaser related to this program, introduced by Sir David Attenborough, is included below.

You can view some more photos of her, and listen to her voice, here. The photos and recordings on this page are from the work of ElephantVoices, partly incorporated in our online databases.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010 00:00

We're certain that those of you who know about world-famous Echo, the late matriarch of the EB family, will enjoy some more time with her. As many of you are aware of, the EBs were our main study group for several years, so we are particularly fond of this wonderful and engaging family.

You can watch a celebration of the life and legacy of Echo, who was born in 1945 and died in 2009, on PBS' Nature on Sunday, October 17, at 8 p.m. (check local listings). BBC's Natural World followed this very special elephant for the last 20 years of her life - you can see how Sir David Attenborough introduced BBC's version ("Echo an Unforgettable Elephant") here.

In this final chapter of Echo's story, Nature looks back at her remarkable journey, and takes a look ahead at the future awaiting her family. This poignant portrait pieces together watershed moments in Echo's life and examines the plight of her fragmented family in the wake of her death. You can find some interviews, video clips and photos related to the BBC version here.

You can view some more photos of Echo, and listen to her voice, here. The photos and recordings on this page are from the work of ElephantVoices, partly incorporated in our online databases.

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.