ElephantVoices Blog

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

Dear Elephant Friend,

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

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


Press release published 26 October 2015:

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

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

Dr. Joyce Poole

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

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


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

Dear friend of ElephantVoices,

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

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

Brings to Life an Historic Rejuvenation of an African Wildlife Oasis

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

Gorongosa elephants. Photo ElephantVoices.

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

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

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

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

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