Our month long field trip was very productive, despite being in a country in turmoil. The situation in Amboseli was quiet, and even more so with fewer and fewer tourists visiting.
With so many of the western and Tanzanian elephant families visiting the central part of the park, we were able to accomplish all of the playbacks we had planned for in good time. Even though the current unrest in Kenya prevented us from completing ATE’s new Elephant ID database, we are very pleased with its development. We expect that it will be ready for field testing in the next few weeks.
During this field trip we used quite a few of our evenings writing and uploading updates from our field work and our activities to our new blog on WildlifeDirect. Photos, sounds and video-clips have been uploaded as part of our reports. WildlifeDirect is founded and chaired by Dr. Richard Leakey, and it's goal is to empower individuals and organizations to help save the worlds wild species by connecting likeminded people through blogging. Through our blog we have reached new people, and have received quite a few comments and questions. Do visit this blog if you want to read more about our playback experiments and other activities during our field trip.
1. Our last days in Amboseli saw more and more dust devils. Rain is much needed – it was flooding at this time last year. 2. Meeting Echo is always a treat and we look forward to seeing her next time. Her 2005 calf, Esprit, is doing fine, but we predict she was Echo’s last.
We continue to follow with deep concern and interest the political and humanitarian crisis in Kenya. A solution that provides the basis for a peaceful and prosperous future, rather than a quick fix, is vital for all. And even if such an agreement can be made, the trust and bonds between Kenyans as individuals and as communities must be rebuilt and strengthened. We are looking at a long process.
The next few months promise to be busy. Analysis of our playbacks (audio and video), writing papers, making additions to our photo library, updating our visual and tactile signals database, educational outreach and selected elephant welfare challenges, will fill our days in the months to come. You will also see some other expansions on ElephantVoices, especially related to sounds and video. In addition there is always a flow of incoming e-mails and elephant related requests that we do our best to respond to.
We hope that you will continue to visit ElephantVoices throughout the year - and might try to tempt you with elephant sounds like these:
Best wishes, Petter and Joyce