elephant vocalization

  • References

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

    The range of sounds elephants produce

    Erin vocalizes after mating with Ed. (©ElephantVoices) Elephants produce a broad range of sounds from very low frequency rumbles to higher frequency snorts, barks, roars, cries and other idiosyncratic calls. Asian elephants also produce chirps. The most frequently used category of calls, at least for African elephants, is the very low frequency rumble. You can search for, listen to and read about numerous sounds through in the Multimedia

  • Our long-term study of elephant social behavior, communication and cognition has centered around our work on elephants in Amboseli, Kenya. We have worked there in collaboration with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) and affiliated scientists, Karen McComb, Lucy Bates, Beth Archie, Hamisi Mutinda, Graeme Shannon and Julie Hollister-Smith in a decades-long study of African savanna elephants. Our own data go back to 1975 when Joyce first joined the Amboseli project.

    Since 2000 we have concentrated our observations and recordings on the EB family, which was led by the famous matriarch, Echo, until she sadly died in May, 2009. These recordings make up a detailed part of our collection. In addition to data from Amboseli, we have recordings from shorter studies of elephants carried out in Tsavo National Park, Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Laikipia, Kenya. We have also made recordings and observations of Asian elephants in Ude Walawe, Wasgamua and Minneriya National Parks in Sri Lanka.

    In furthering our understanding of elephants and their communication, we have collaborated with scientists outside the realm of Amboseli, too. We worked with Katy Payne in describing the use of infrasound in African elephants. We collaborate with Caitlin O'Connell to further her

  • Dear Friend of ElephantVoices,

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

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

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

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

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