Category Archives: 5. Research

The Elephant Charter – visit and sign on!

We are grateful if you are willing to spread the word about The Elephant Charter. The intention with the online Charter is to provide a set of guiding Principles, based on elephant biology, to form a touchstone for anyone needing to address elephant interests.

Buttressed by its Appendix, The Elephant Charter represents a consensus of the nature of elephants. It is intended to promote scientifically sound and ethical management and care of all elephants, providing guidance to law and policy makers, enforcement agencies and the courts, organizations, institutions and international bodies, as well as to managers of wild and captive elephants.

The Elephant Charter is independent of any particular group or institution. Rather, its force comes from the expertise and stature of the elephant biologists who are its signatories. Its authors, Joyce Poole, Cynthia Moss, Raman Sukumar, Andrea Turkalo and Katy Payne are eminent elephant field biologists representing the longest studied populations of African savannah, Asian and African forest elephants: the elephants of Amboseli, Mudumalai and Dzanga Bai. With four decades of groundbreaking research on wild elephants, together with the research of many colleagues, they are collectively in a position to speak with confidence about the interests of elephants wherever they may be.

On the site elephant biologists are invited to join as Signatories, and to take ownership of the sentiments reflected in The Elephant Charter and to uphold its Principles.  So far close to 50 elephant biologists have signed on.

You will furthermore find an invitation to members of the public, who wish to make their voices heard, to add their names as Supporting Signatories.

The Elephant Charter

Appeal for support related to our Sri Lanka project

As we continue to plan for the next phase of our Minneriya-Kaudulla Elephant Project, we have been following the dramatic situation in Sri Lanka along with the rest of the world. We look forward to a peaceful future for all Sri Lankans!

It is more critical than ever to ensure the reduction of conflict between elephants and people – a goal at the core of our project. Marketing of beautiful Sri Lanka including Minneriya’s and Kaudulla’s elephants could in itself contribute toward a new era – from all perspectives sustainable tourism will be important for people AND for the conservation of wildlife.

Manori GunawardenaOur Sri Lankan colleague, Manori Gunawardena, will be visiting us from 15th to 25 June. With new developments we have lots of planning issues to deal with as well as adding some 300 individual elephants into the project’s elephant ID database on our high-speed internet connection. Prior to Manori’s working visit with us, she will attend a GIS course at Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC to learn mapping techniques that are an integral part of the project. The cost for the course is covered by Smithsonian Institute.

The remainder of the budget for Manori’s travel from 30th May to 25 June is:

Flights: Colombo – UK – Washington – UK – Norway – Colombo, $1626
Lodging Washington: $1120
Visa UK and Norway, and airport transfer DC: $240

ElephantVoices is committed to cover the total cost of $2986, and in the current financial climate any contribution is highly welcome!

Cheers, Petter and Joyce

Greetings from a sunny and very dry Kenya

While Joyce is back in Norway preparing for her appearance in the legal case against Ringling Brothers Circus, and dealing with other pending elephant-issues, I continue my stay here in Nairobi. I am keeping busy working on our website update and our databases with IT-experts Mark and Fred, and trying to get our field vehicle in shape for the next few months of field work – a continuous job!

In the middle of next week I leave for Amboseli with Blake Murray. Over the next 10 weeks Blake is going to be assisting with ElephantVoices’ communication research by collecting acoustic recordings and video of some of the rarer calls. After a two week intro period with me he will be in the good hands of the very competent ATE research staff members, Norah Njiraini and Katito Sayialel.

Right now Blake is with Joyce in Norway being prepared for his time in Amboseli and picking up the recording equipment, datasheets and so on. Blake, who is currently a student at University of Utah, worked with us for a couple of months in 2003. You will be hearing more from us in the field.
Blake and Petter with the BBs in Amboseli in May 2003.

Based on normal rainfall patterns this time of the year usually represents a productive work period for collecting elephant vocalizations. But this year may be different. Due to the severe drought elephants are likely to be more subdued and just focused on getting enough to eat.

The short rains failed over most of Kenya, which is a troubling fact for millions of Kenyans. The political upheaval last year really had an impact on food production in the country and having the rains fail sets people even further back. Millions of Kenyans are currently faced with hunger – making human elephant conflict even more acute.

Despite the drought, I really look forward to being with the Amboseli elephants again, and we are all hoping for good rains in March and April.