Learning how to speak the seismic language of elephants may save some farmer’s lives.
Zoologists in Namibia think so, and are trying to harness the seismic social calls of the female elephant to lure rampaging males back to safety. They’ve already had success by simulating the low rumble of a herd of female elephants in heat, causing randy bull elephants to come a-calling.
The trials are being led by Dr Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, of Stanford University, England. Elephants in must, their state of sexual readiness, have been shown to alter their movements to head towards the low vibration in the ground.
The tool could help save elephants in Etosha National Park from the risk of violent conflicts with farmers. Elephants damage crops, break water installations and may end up being shot. “It’s very difficult to get them back into the park. Someone ends up getting hurt,” said Dr. O’Connell-Rodwell.
The vibrations have been shown to make bull elephants react from up to 2km away, although they can hear mating calls at up to 10km away. So if you’ve left your rumble pack on the ground and you hear a trumpeting, run like your life depended on it.