Recent News About ELP

With more than 20 sound recorders listening in on the forest in Gabon and Congo, most of the ELP team is stuck in front of computers in Ithaca analyzing data, working on reports and papers, and fundraising.

Our projects in Gabon continue to gather data at a diversity of forest clearings, some in protected areas but most in only partially protected areas like forestry concessions and lands managed by community associations. Other recorders are monitoring the number and type of vehicles passing through gated entrances to roads in a logging concession, part of an experiment to see how reliable these control points are and to see whether we can use the acoustic information to increase the dependability of the human gate-keepers. And another set of recorders is monitoring illegal hunting activity in a section of Loango National Park, Gabon, and quantifying the effectiveness of patrols designed to reduce incursions by hunters.

One new education initiative is under way in Gabon: we are training a university-level biologist in the techniques of running acoustic recorders and the basics of sound analysis. This program is part of our collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Gabon. We have plans to run a workshop later this year or early next that will begin training a cadre of field technicians in how to incorporate acoustic monitoring in their conservation projects.

Perhaps the most exciting news is that Andrea Turkalo will be coming to Cornell for three months this summer to work on her incredible dataset from the Dzanga clearing in the Central African Republic. As the world expert on forest elephant behavior and social structure, Andrea can make a huge difference in how we structure conservation plans for elephants across the Congo Basin. Until now this knowledge has been locked up in Andrea's head and in her massive notes from the field. This summer she makes a start on bringing that knowledge to all of us.

We've also started a monthly E-newsletter that variously talks about aspects of the natural history of forest elephants (and a lot about what we still don't understand) and about our various research projects in Africa. If you would like to get on the list of folks receiving this newsletter, let us know with an email request.

Finally, if you are not already a FAN of our Page on Facebook, please join us and tell your friends! We will post short videos and announcements here to let you know of updates and important events.

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A couple of cute babies playing in the water while their mothers are drinking nearby... 'Oh! our moms take soooo long and are no fun at all.' (there is no sound).

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© Nikolas Batruch

Young male forest elephant in Loango National Park, Gabon.