Rare, ‘one-in-a-million’ footage of a critically endangered wild forest elephant fleeing from a technologically generated bee sound, has been captured by a wildlife camera trap in remote Liberia, western Africa.
Save the Elephants (STE) researchers have uncovered what is believed to be the first publicly documented case of a male African elephant born without tusks. This intriguing discovery, published as a scientific study in yesterday’s publication of Pachyderm, challenges established genetic evidence suggesting that only females are born tuskless.
The 13-year-old tuskless male, from a family known as the Hawaiian Islands, was first discovered in 2011 as a very young calf by STE’s Director of Field Operations, David Daballen in Samburu National Reserve, northern Kenya. Although researchers continued to monitor his progress, he never grew any semblance of tusks – a feature that normally emerges around the age of two and a half years. Moreover, his mother, named Kauai, is also tuskless, leaving scientists to question whether he inherited the tuskless condition from her.
We are deeply saddened to report that one of our best-known and most beloved bull elephants, Edison, has died. Edison’s carcass was found in Westgate Conservancy in Samburu, northern Kenya. We suspect his untimely death could be yet another tragic outcome of the rising cases of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) across Africa. Investigations into the cause of death are still continuing. Edison’s death marks the third loss of one of our Samburu study bull elephants within the span of just under a year. In December, bull elephants Sarara and Yeagar were both killed in conflict with herders.
Following the successful launch of our Human-Elephant Coexistence (HEC) Toolbox on World Elephant Day last year, we embarked on a significant milestone this year by conducting our inaugural Toolbox Training of Trainers workshops in Tsavo, Kenya.
Representatives from diverse communities across Kenya gathered at our Sagalla research centre to equip themselves with the knowledge and tools necessary to teach others how to live more in peaceful coexistence with elephants. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Sagalla hills, the training sessions took place in April, July, and August and were led by our own team of HEC experts from Save the Elephants.
On the edge of Kenya’s vast Tsavo West National Park lies Lake Jipe – one of the country’s most important wetlands and home to hippos, crocodiles and unique birdlife. But beyond its tranquil setting, this freshwater lake also holds a remarkable secret—a harmonious and unique coexistence between humans and elephants.
At the center of this tale is Manolo, a wise bull elephant, and his band of equally legendary companions. Save the Elephants (STE) researchers were the first to uncover the extraordinary bond shared between Manolo (aged 40) and the fishing community of Mikocheni living near Lake Jipe.
Researchers have unravelled the intricacies of wild elephant diets. Using DNA metabarcoding, the Brown University study analysed elephant dung collected by Save the Elephants almost two decades ago which showed surprising variation from meal to meal – with up to 137 unique plant DNA barcodes detected in one faecal sample, revealing the true extent of variation in an individual’s diet.
A ground-breaking study published today (June 27) in the prestigious journal, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, unveils an intriguing connection between hot testicles and the evolution of potent anti-cancer genes in elephants. Led by Professor Fritz Vollrath, Chairman of Save the Elephants, the research suggests that the absence of testicular descent in elephants may have driven the development of multiple anti-cancer genes, safeguarding their temperature-sensitive sperm production.
As human-elephant conflict increases across Africa, farmers need practical, sustainable and affordable ways to peacefully co-exist with elephants without having to resort to violence. Save the Elephants has developed a unique ‘how to’ manual, the Human-Elephant Coexistence (HEC) Toolbox of tried and tested elephant deterrents to empower rural communities to protect their livelihoods from elephants. Built on the success of STE’s Elephants and Bees Project in Tsavo, the Toolbox is the brainchild of Dr Lucy King who heads up STE’s Human-Elephant Coexistence program.
Why Save The Elephants?
Elephants are Africa’s gardeners and landscape engineers, planting seeds and creating habitat wherever they roam. Without urgent action to save their species, elephants could disappear from the wild within a single generation. Approximately 100,000 elephants in Africa were killed for their ivory in just three years between the years 2010 & 2012.
As human-elephant conflict continues to rise across Africa, researchers are searching for new ways to keep a watchful eye on wild African elephants, even looking to space for guidance.
The tusks of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) have evolved as intra-sexual combat weapons, as well as tools for feeding and digging.
Individual animals should adjust diets according to food availability.
The Samburu elephant population is one of the most extensively studied in the world. The elephants’ births, deaths, and interactions are closely monitored, making this population a valuable resource for understanding elephant society. Read more here
We conduct vital research on elephant behaviour and ecology and pioneered GPS radio tracking in Africa to provide fresh insight into the life of elephants. Our solid scientific data has helped shift international policy towards a better future for the species. Read more here
Our STE Wildtracks App enables us to conduct real-time monitoring of elephant movements. The data compiled is used to make critical decisions about elephant corridors as well as to respond quickly to elephants in distress. Read more here