THE ELEPHANT
LISTENING PROJECT

RECENT ELP NEWS

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 looking for the funds to keep our work going.

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. In the previous year we have also expanded our efforts to measure poaching risk by placing recorders in buffer zones on the boundary of Ivindo National Park - home to Langoué Bai, the best known clearing in Gabon. Many national parks in Central Africa are bounded by logging concessions, limited-access areas that potentially provide expanses of habitat to buffer animal populations in the protected areas. However, if not managed well, the logging roads become pathways of access to poachers and commercial bushmeat hunters. ELP is helping to assess how well these logging concessions are controlling access by illegal hunters.

One new education/research initiative is targeted for Gabon: we have applied for funding to train a university-level biologist in the techniques of running acoustic recorders and the basics of sound analysis, with a commitment that this person will be retained over the long term to manage acoustic monitoring in Gabon. This program is part of our collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Gabon. We have plans to run a workshop, perhaps next year that will begin training a cadre of field technicians in how to incorporate acoustic monitoring in their conservation projects. Our recent translation of instruction manuals into French will greatly facilitate this sort of educational effort.

On the analysis front, Andrea Turkalo has now spent three consecutive summers with us in Ithaca, working 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. It has taken us this long to develop and populate a searchable database with 20 years of her data. Now the fun and the insights that come with analysis and interpretation.

Our bi-monthly newsletter focuses on various aspects of the natural history of forest elephants (and a lot about what we still don't understand), about our various research projects in Africa, and sometimes about life in the analysis lab here at Cornell. If you would like to get on the list of folks receiving this newsletter, click the link at the bottom of the page to sign up!

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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.'.