Education Blog

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.




ElephantVoices is launching a campaign against the ivory trade, which is causing the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants every year. Elephant expert and Co-Founder of ElephantVoices, Dr. Joyce Poole, observes, "It is with a sense of déjà vu and deep sorrow, though little surprise, that following the torpedoing of the 1989 ban by the 'one-off' sales of ivory stockpiles, we find ourselves living through, and battling against, another elephant massacre." Two weeks before the delegates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meet in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss the fate of elephants once more, ElephantVoices reminds the world that each new tusk on the market means more death, trauma and destruction.

"We are asking people to help us reach out to potential buyers of ivory who don't realize that elephants are dying in record-high numbers for trinkets and decorations. The only way to stop this wanton slaughter of elephants is to choke demand for ivory and stop the trade," states Joyce Poole.

ElephantVoices is basing its campaign on two powerful pieces of graphic art by New York artist, Asher Jay. The artworks, with the slogans, EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE; DON'T BUY IVORY and EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE; STOP THE TRADE, target potential buyers and decision-makers, and are also specifically directed toward a Chinese audience. "ElephantVoices is doing something unique by making the graphic art available online in several versions, so they can be shared on social networks and be used for T-shirts, bumper-stickers, posters and banners", says Executive Director, Petter Granli.

"We urge people to share these messages far and wide, making them go viral. The poaching is endangering elephants, jeopardizing biodiversity, and threatening tourism, people's livelihoods and stability in elephant range states. The writing is on the wall for elephants and we must act now", says Joyce Poole.

Yellow Stars Shed Light

There are too many people buying ivory in too many countries. The current demand for elephant tusks is unsustainable and is swiftly mining Africa's elephants. The largest demand is in China and, hence, the Chinese government and her people have a special responsibility for taking a lead to end the decimation of elephants. China was permitted to buy a restricted amount of ivory from stockpiles, a decision by the international community that has caused immense harm to elephants. Ninety percent of the ivory available in China is from slaughtered elephants, illegally sourced, traded and sold. Chinese buyers deserve to know that tens of thousands of elephants are being killed to supply them with ivory. Every tusk costs a life.

China has the ability to raise public awareness and to enforce their strict laws to quickly strangle the trading, buying and poaching. China can stop her countrymen causing the destruction of Africa's heritage and biodiversity, while concurrently protecting her enormous investments on the African continent. We urge China to take action now to end any trade in ivory - we cannot afford to lose Africa's keystone species. 中国 Zh

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.

" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" height="315" width="560"> " />

Elephants in the classroom

On 11th May 2012 ElephantVoices had a Skype conference based on our Elephants in the Classroom: Meet ElephantVoices initiative. Joyce Poole met up with students from Boynton Middle School in Ithaca, New York. Teacher Corinne Morton was the one behind this educational meeting through cyberspace.

Corinne has written this summary from an online gathering Joyce enjoyed very much. Keep up the good work, Boynton Middle School!


I am a sixth grade science and humane education teacher at Boynton Middle School in Ithaca, New York. We are located in the heart of the fingerlakes and our school is about ten minutes from Cornell University. As an educator, my passion is exposing students to all sides of situations so that they may make informed decisions about how they spend their money and what they do or do not support.

I have always been interested and involved in elephant conservation and education, especially regarding life for these creatures in zoos and circuses. I often do curriculum work tied in with the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and have exposed my students to the research being done on elephant communication. I love to think of myself as Global Educator and link my students to scientific events worldwide as well as locally. We had the pleasure of having Melissa Groo come in to our classes to do a presentation on her experiences with the Elephant Listening Project at Cornell and elephants in general. I had also exposed my students to ElephantVoices and the work Joyce Poole has done over the years in elephant research. I thought it would be a wonderful experience to have my students Skype with her after seeing it on the website.

The students were beyond excited and still talk about the experience they had skyping with Joyce! I had a total of 120 students come up with questions for her and those students were split into four class periods to Skype. I was able to let small groups of students take turns in front of the camera asking their questions while I projected Joyce on the large screen for all students to watch. It all worked wonderfully!

My students wrote some reflective pieces on their experience skyping with Joyce and below you'll find a few.

From the sixth graders ( age 11-12):

"I learned a lot and it made me want to do something and inform other people about elephant voices!" Imaan Gruel.

"I love the skype effect...I thought Joyce Poole was funny and at the same time it was enlightening." Dylan Davenport.

"It was the best ever science lesson. I love skyping with Joyce Poole." Brian Conuel.

"I learned a lot from the questions you answered and thought it was cool that you were across the world talking to us! Thank you". Danielle Hemly.

"It was cool to meet one of the leading elephant scientists in the world! It also made me want to boycott animal circuses." (Not signed)

"I am Max and I speak for the elephants! I am convinced that poaching and circuses are horrible." Max Milton.

"I really enjoyed skyping with you. You gave many facts and a few stories that made us laugh. Skype was a great way to talk with you. I want to spread the word about ElephantVoices." Andreas Lambrou.

"I know that elephants are important to the world." Mohammed Williams.

"Joyce Poole, you are awesome, I like that you help elephants." Tysheem Randall.

"I learned a lot skyping and it made me realize how awesome elephants are." Dylan Morse.

"I learned elephant circuses are not for elephants or for any other animals." Shayla Szeto.

"Thanks for everything... I have actually been to Africa...I got to see a lot of wild animals. Elephants and other animals belong in the wild." Mariya Mayu.

"It was a very informational experience. For example, I learned that elephant tusks extend far into their skulls." Ben Carver.

"Thank you for skyping, it was a wonderful experience. Elephants are a great subject to research and I bet it is very interesting to spend so much time with them. I hope we meet again." Adelaide Tracey.

"It was very cool talking to you!" Thea Clarkburg.

Petter Granli & Joyce Poole One of our objectives is education - to share our knowledge about the behavior, abilities and interests of elephants and their conservation in the wild with you the public. We accomplish this in a number of ways - this website and ElephantVoices on Facebook being just two. Articles, documentary films and lectures are other important avenues, although with the travel involved the latter is, admittedly, not the most eco-friendly alternative.

With this in mind we have decided to try out the use of Skype to communicate directly with students in primary, middle and high school classes. The blurb below describes one such a meeting from March this year where, via Skype and a computer connected to a data projector, we chatted with enthusiastic kids and their teachers in Atlanta, Georgia.

We welcome teachers or students from any where in the world to mail us with their thoughts about how they think a discussion with ElephantVoices and Joyce could fit into their class work. We are pleased to discuss a range of issues including elephant biology, social behavior and communication, elephant conservation in the context of human development, elephants and the ivory trade, and captive elephant welfare, among other topics.

Our time and capacity is limited, but we would like to try doing an "Elephant in the Classroom" meeting once a month. Get in touch with us and we can take details from there!

A fun meeting with a school class in Atlanta, Georgia, 11 March 2010

"Five and six year old students at the Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia have been studying elephants in depth with their teachers, Jonathan and Kristi. Students have been busy creating life-size elephants, making models of elephant habitats, and researching interesting animal facts that they will share in a podcast. As part of their research, they Skyped with Petter and Joyce to ask them their unanswered questions about elephants. Students had a chance to ask them the questions they had written in their journals earlier in the week. The class enjoyed learning that the female elephants never leave their families. They also found it interesting to hear about the many ways in which an elephant uses its trunk."

Amy Valk, Instructional Technology Specialist, The Paideia School

More and more people are on social networks - and the popularity of Facebook continue to increase. ElephantVoices is following the trend, with the obvious goal of improving our educational interface towards a global audience. With the current disastrous boom in the trade in ivory and poaching anybody working for the future and interest of elephants must optimize all efforts trying to reduce supply and demand for ivory.

ElephantVoices on facebookElephantVoices' facebook "window" will be were we will post daily updates, viewpoints and comments, while hoping for many from you as well. We will at the same time continue to improve and expand when it comes to comprehensive information about elephant communication and elephants interests, and our multimedia databases. We will also give news updates through the site, when appropriate. After a few days close to 850 people has registered as fans on our Facebook Page.

ElephantVoices 4U is launched to provide a network for youth who want to discuss and work together to secure a kinder future for elephants. We are very grateful for anyone recruiting young people to join! ElephantVoices have 449 fans after less than a week.

ElephantVoices is also on Twitter, for people that want to follow our work and updates through this communication channel.


You have probably noticed that we have been rather quiet over the last few months - more quiet than we intended to be. But we have been extremely busy and are pleased to say that we will soon have some exciting achievements behind us. Some of you may visit our blog on WildlifeDirect and may follow part of our work through that channel. If you do you will know that one of our big tasks has been the preparations for a major overhaul of ElephantVoices which will offer a more flexible and user-friendly CMS-based website.

The expansion will also include a long-awaited Calls Database and a broader presentation of elephants and their communication. We do not dare to promise when "the new" ElephantVoices is on air, but in a couple of months most of the work should be done. We'll keep you informed. Have a great summer - and take care!

Greetings, Petter

Joyce Poole and Petter Granli met many people interested in and even passionate about elephants and the work of ATE and ElephantVoices during their two week lecture and fundraising tour. We are fully dependant on the generosity of individuals to continue our long-term research, conservation and welfare efforts. The good news is therefore that the lectures and meetings in Bozeman, Jackson Hole, San Francisco and Los Angeles led to substantial financial support.

We are all extremely grateful for the many generous donations - and warm thanks to the hosts, organizers and helpers who contributed so much along the way!

Ruby  (previously LA Zoo), Ed Stewart, Joyce, Pat Derby, Petter  During their tour Joyce and Petter also visited PAWS, to meet Pat Derby, Ed Stewart and their elephants. It is wonderful to see how quickly elephants begin to act like elephants once they have access to space and companions...

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices

Joyce and Petter will be on an ATE/ElephantVoices lecture and fundraising tour in the US from 29th January to 12 February. Lectures, presentations and meetings in San Francisco (15/16), Bozeman - Museum of the Rockies (17), Big Sky - Ophir School (18), Jackson Hole (18 - 20, public lecture 20th at National Museum of Wildlife Art, San Francisco (24 - 26) and Los Angeles (27) are on their tight schedule. They will also visit PAWS.

Greetings, Petter/ElephantVoices

ElephantVoices on Facebook - 4U!

Date added: 2009-11-18 14:59:18
Hits: 3207

Dear ElephantVoices News Subscribers

Date added: 2008-07-10 08:41:39
Hits: 2003

Successful US lecture and fundraising tour

Date added: 2007-10-06 10:00:01
Hits: 2669

Lecture and fundraising tour in the US 14th to 29 September

Date added: 2007-09-13 13:35:15
Hits: 2524