Turns out 60 Minutes doesn’t bore the crap out of me sometimes! Happy New Year!
For the past 19 years, an American scientist named Andrea Turkalo has been studying a group of wild forest elephants in Africa. Color me jealous! I love elephants; they are like the uber-humans I aspire to be.
In conjunction with Cornell University, Turkalo has been watching these elephants and recording the sounds they make to understand the complex world that is elephant chatter. Guess what everybody, eles are on some infrasonic shit! The base of their communication is a super low frequency that we nancy humans can’t hear. What the scientists have been doing is actually recording the elephants and then playing the sound back three times faster, at which point low rumbles begin to form. OMG SO COOL.
Another great part of this story: by studying these rare elephants, Turkalo has actually created a sort of sanctuary for them:
Asked if this research into elephant sounds has any practical purpose, Wrege told Simon, “We’re using sound recordings to monitor forest elephants because they are so difficult to see. And this becomes more and more critical because their population is threatened. So, knowing where the animals are gives us a way to begin attacking what has to be preserved or where do we need to put more protection.”
"Protection," because poaching has become almost epidemic: it is estimated that annually 10 percent of Dzanga’s elephants are killed for their ivory.
Turkalo works closely with Dzanga’s armed guards, but so far their efforts have not stopped the slaughter.
Asked if she sees it as her personal responsibility to protect the elephants, Turkalo said, “I’ve made it my personal responsibility for me if I’ve been given this great privilege to study this particular population of elephants I think my priority is to protect them. Otherwise I have no right to study them.”
Turkalo believes if she weren’t here, the clearing would become a killing field.
Damn! It’s hard out here for an ele. The Elephant Listening Project is even struggling. If you love the elephants like I do, why don’t you break them off a little cashmoney? Then they can continue to hang tough with the elephants until we sort out every last rumble.