loxodonta african

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Elephant silhouetted at sunset in Chobe National Park in Botswana by 一把阳光

Elephants as meteorologists

In Western Namibia, fourteen different herds of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) were unknowingly (or maybe knowingly, they’re smart) part of some pretty cool research between 2002 and 2009.

The research team were interested in assessing the capabilities of elephants to sense weather patterns; in particular thunderstorms. The results are really interesting and a testament to the endurance and intelligence of these beautiful creatures.

They have concluded that our giant friends can detect a thunderstorm from up to 300Km away, most likely through infrasound generated by rain systems, particularly storms, and furthermore, they can predict rainfall up to 12 days in advance.

Beat that, AccuWeather!!

The herds, which due to their location are subject to a prolonged dry season, simultaneously change their migratory path to head towards areas where rain is due.

Not only does this benefit elephants from a natural survival perspective, it also enables us to help assure their survival from anthropogenic pressures, such as the despicable act of poaching. Now, conservation efforts may be pin pointed so as to predict the herds movement and prevent the slaughter of these animals.

-Jean

Photo courtesy of Mike Nichols

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Little Big Boy by 一把阳光
An Elephant calf ( Loxodonta Africana ) in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa