Spotlight Amboseli: Talking to the elephants

If you wanted to ask an elephant a question, how would you go about it? One way would be to record an elephant’s call and play it over a speaker that is able to reproduce the low- frequency sounds people may or may not be capable of hearing but elephants can.

Researchers working with Cynthia Moss found that if you play back the call of an elephant, you’ll get four different reactions. The family will respond and go to where the speaker is hidden. The bond group, with whom it has a close relationship, will respond to the call but not go to the speaker. The clan will have no reaction at all, although they will recognize the individual making the call. If you play the call to a group that is not familiar with the elephant, they will bunch, indicating they are aware an unfamiliar elephant is in the area.

In this video, you’ll learn how scientists investigate elephant communication with each other and also how elephants interpret vocalization of lions and respond to potential dangers.


Comments: 1

4 years ago

I am a supporter of the ifaw. Thank you for this video as it shows what good work you support and also that the money actually does go to the animals.
I also appreciate what fundimental work you do and support Thank You

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Chief of Staff, International Fund for Animal Welfare
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Vice President for International Operations
Vice President for International Operations
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy