ELP NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE
Starry nights and the sounds of a forest
ELP's stellar team, Julie Samy and Ana Verahrami are settling into life in Central Africa where they are working hard to resume the identification of individual forest elephants. They continue to revel in the surprise and wonder of the elephants and forest, and experience life in the nearby village.
Passing the Baton at Dzanga
An eventful year at ELP! Andrea has retired, but thanks to generous donations from our supporters, we are able continue her amazing legacy. Daniela Hewig (our post-doc) has been at Dzanga Bai for 3 months monitoring the elephants and others will follow next year.
A Story of Dzanga Bai
After 27 years studying the elephants in Dzanga Bai, Andrea Turkalo recently decided it's time for her to move on. She talks about her work and the difficulties of working there in an article that was published in Der Spiegel (a German magazine). Read the translation of that article here, as well as our hopes for continuing Andrea's amazing work at Dzanga.
Optimism and Vulnerability
On the optimistic side: China is meeting some of its stated goals to eliminate the ivory trade, and ELP will be starting new projects later this year. On the vulnerability side: Our amazing colleague, Andrea Turkalo, has decided to end her 27 years living in Dzanga and studying elephants. We'd like to see this invaluable long-term study continue, so we're working hard to see if we can make that happen.
New Experiences in Congo
Peter and Daniela were surprised by a gorilla as they trecked through the forest in Congo on a recent mission to put up new recording units. They also spent a week at Dzanga Bai in Central African Republic, with Andrea. Peter talks about ELP's exciting plans for the upcoming year.
Hanging on in Africa
More good news! Last year, the Lab recieved a very generous gift that the Lab Director decided to focus on ELP and two other programs in the BioAcoustics Research Program. This enabled us to bring a fantastic new post-doc into our team and to expand our projects. Meanwhile, in Dzanga Bai, Andrea Turkalo was thrilled to see Ahmed (pictured here) wander into the clearing. She'd not seen him since 2006.
Catching up with elephants and ELP
Some good news! A 7-yr young conservationist, Calib (pictured here), raised money for ELP, encouraing donations by offering his hand-made origami elephants as a thank-you gift; Andrea's seeing plenty of elephants in Dzanga Bai (although nearby logging is a threat); we showed that our acoustic method has advantages over using traditional dung transects to estimate elephant population density; and more!
Renewal at Dzanga:
With five months behind her, Andrea has managed to get her camp functional again. It continues to be a struggle, and tragically, logging has started nearby. But the elephants are well for now and Andrea's seen 20 new infants. See a video clip of Elodie's new baby.
Wrapping an Elephant Year:
Andrea finally returned to Dzanga to an enthusiastic welcome from the locals. Peter went to Cameroon to conduct at workshop for 11 researchers and park rangers, teaching everything from how to run the recorders to safe climbing techniques to data archiving and sound analysis.
We had two fantastic students from a local high school working with us all year as part of their study program. They investigated how elephant activity varied seasonally at a river where the elephants dive for minerals! Out of the office, Peter had an extremely challenging field trip to the Republic of Congo.
Rumbling in Two Voices:
A fascinating study showing that elephants can produce rumbles from their mouths and from their trunks.
A Summer of Elephants:
ELP was busy this summer: Peter went to Cameroon to set up recorders, Andrea worked with Peter on her data from Dzanga while monitoring the situation in C.A.R., and we had two high-school volunteers Maya and Jonathan (pictured here) who were great!
Trouble in the Central African Republic:
The C.A.R has undergone a series of dramatic, violent political uprisings in recent months. A rebel group has overthown the leadership of President Gen. Francois Bozize. Andrea stayed at Dzanga Bai as long as she could, but finally decided it was too dangerous to stay, so she fled downriver under cover of darkness to the Congo. Read snippets of her emails to us during this traumatic time: testament to her characteristic strength, determination and calmness.
Living with Sound:
ELP's founder, Katy Payne reflects in a beautiful essay on how sound has threaded her life, from music to whales to elephants.
View from the Inside:
We depend heavily on volunteers to help us. They're always enthusiastic and bring new ideas, as well as updating us on current social media trends! One of our volunteers, Alexa Hilmer, talks about her experience working for us.
Voting for Elephants:
How we analyze our recordings and anticipated improvements to our methods. Some thoughts on how important it is to communicate your feelings about conserving the gentle giants and their habitat. Andrea is visiting us again!
See some cool (and hot!) images and video of forest elephants that Peter took on his recent trip to Dzanga Bai using a thermal imaging camera. This is the first time this technology had been used on forest elephants.
Do Elephants Fly?:
Ever wondered why the Elephant Listening Project is based in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology? All is revealed here.
Like Stars in the Sky:
A cool analysis of the sound data we recorded in Gabon during our nighttime behaviour study shows where elephants were when they called, and an animation reveals the path that two elephants took to the bai.
Into the Breach:
Bobbi returns from her adventures in the Republic of Congo. See a video clip of elephants drinking in the river, and gorillas! Meanwhile, Peter heads off to Gabon again and tells us about what he'll be doing there, including developing new collaborations.