December 4, 2018

11:59 pm

Turns Out, We Can Track Elephants The Same Way We Measure Earthquakes

One of the biggest challenges in protecting elephants and stopping poaching is being able to keep tabs on where the elephants are. On that front, we've come a long way -- technology has given us GPS and satellite collars but now it is a repurposed technology that is coming to the fore.

According to new research, the rumbles given off by elephants gargantuan steps combined with the noises they make to communicate with each other can be measured by the same technology we use to measure earthquakes.

Oxford scientists Scientists Dr Beth Mortimer and Prof Tarje Nissen-Meyer presented their findings late last week at the TedWomen conference.

According to the researchers, the "seismic waves" can be measured up to four miles away.

Save The Elephants' chief executive, Frank Pope made the following comment on the research: "Legends and folklore have long spoken about the way elephants cannot only communicate across long distances, but also detect other events that shake the ground like far-off thunder. This study marks a new phase in trying to understand the nature of the vibrations elephants produce and how they might be used by elephants themselves. Along the way it is opening our eyes to the challenges posed by human-generated noise in an increasingly crowded landscape."