Peter Wrege, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter H. Wrege
Peter H. Wrege

A behavioral ecologist, I have made Ithaca my base for more than 40 years, although nearly half of that time has been spent conducting fieldwork somewhere else in the world. Multiyear projects and extended field seasons observing animals in their natural environments and trying to understand what makes them tick has been my passion. I have worked in such places as Venezuela, Panama, the Galapagos, Kenya, Gabon, and Congo. In 2007, I took up the reins of the Elephant Listening Project and began listening to the forests of Central Africa.

“Using innovative techniques to gather sounds, we can study species and human activities normally hidden from view. Through sound, we glimpse the mysteries of forest elephants and also record the gunshots that end their lives.”

Year Hired: 1980

Contact Information
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, room # 151
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.
Phone: +1.607.254.2468

Degree(s): Ph.D., Cornell University, 1980

Recent Publications

Swider, C.R. et al. (2022) ‘Passive acoustic monitoring reveals behavioural response of African forest elephants to gunfire events’, African Journal of Ecology, n/a(n/a). Available at:
Goldenberg, S.Z. et al. (2021) ‘Entry and aggregation at a Central African bai reveal social patterns in the elusive forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis’, Animal Behaviour, 171, pp. 77–85. Available at:
Sethi, S.S. et al. (2020) ‘Characterizing soundscapes across diverse ecosystems using a universal acoustic feature set’, PNAS [Preprint]. Available at:
Lauridsen, H. et al. (2019) ‘Extracting physiological information in experimental biology via Eulerian video magnification’, BMC Biology, 17. Available at:
Hedwig, D., Verahrami, A.K. and Wrege, P.H. (2019) ‘Acoustic structure of forest elephant rumbles: a test of the ambiguity reduction hypothesis’, Animal Cognition [Preprint]. Available at:
Pardo, M.A. et al. (2019) ‘Differences in combinatorial calls among the 3 elephant species cannot be explained by phylogeny’, Behavioral Ecology, arz018.
Hedwig, D., DeBellis, M. and Wrege, P.H. (2018) ‘Not so far: attenuation of low-frequency vocalizations in a rainforest environment suggests limited acoustic mediation of social interaction in African forest elephants’, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 72: 33. Available at:
Astaras, C., Linder, J.M. and Wrege, P.H. (2017) ‘Passive acoustic monitoring as a law enforcement monitoring tool for Afrotropical rainforests’, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 15(5), pp. 233–234.
Keen, S.C. et al. (2017) ‘Automated detection of low-frequency rumbles of forest elephants: A critical tool for their conservation’, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141. Available at:
Fishlock, V., Bout, N. and Wrege, P.H. (2015) ‘Describing study sites’, in Studing Forest Elephants. Fishlock, V. T. Breuer (Editors). 1st Edition Vicki Fishlock & Thomas Breuer. Stuttgart, Germany: Neuer Sportverlag Stuttgart, Germany, pp. 84–88.
Fishlock, V. et al. (2015) ‘Equipment and the golden rules of data management’, in Studying Forest Elephants. Fishlock, V. & T. Breuer (Editors). Stuttgart, Germany: Neuer Sportverlag, pp. 174–178.
Wrege, P.H., Schuttler, S. and Breuer, T. (2015) ‘Estimating elephant population size’, in Studying Forest Elephants. Fishlock, V. & T. Breuer (Editors), pp. 140–143.
Wrege, P.H. (2015) ‘Acoustic monitoring at bais: characterizing the dark side’, in Studying Forest Elephants. Fishlock, V. & T. Breuer (Editors). Stuttgart, Germany: Neuer Sportverlag, pp. 118–123.
Wrege, P.H. et al. (2017) ‘Acoustic monitoring for conservation in tropical forests:examples from forest elephants’, Methods in Ecology and Evolution [Preprint]. Available at:
Turkalo, A.K., Wrege, P.H. and Wittemyer, G. (2016) ‘Slow intrinsic growth rate in forest elephants indicates recovery from poaching will require decades’, Journal of Applied Ecology [Preprint]. Edited by J. du Toit. Available at: