A team of scientists reported about a new study on 7th May according to which it is possible to listen to the elephants. By the help of the tools designed for monitoring the earthquakes, it is possible to listen through the ground, the vibrations produced when the elephant’s walk or talk to each other. As said by the researchers, the discovery could support the fact that the elephants make use of ground vibrations in order to communicate with one another when far off from the herd. This finding may even help in designing a new sort of alarm facility to detect the behavior of the elephants like that of breathing faster or running out of panic. This can be utilized as a way of detecting and catching animal poachers.
This useful discovery has been achieved by a new collaboration of the Oxford University with Save the Elephants, a UK-registered charity. The lead scientists Prof. Tarje Nissen-Meyer and Dr. Beth Mortimer at the Universities of Oxford and Bristol together with Dr. Paula Koelemeijer and Masters student Mr. William Rees made use of tiny sensors known as ‘geo-phones’ for measuring the vibrations of the ground that is generated by the elephants residing in the Samburu National Reserve situated at Kenya. The study members detected seismic vibrations of a very low frequency, which was produced by the vocalizations called “rumbles.” By using computer models, the scientists said that the vibrations tend to be louder than what can be heard. The researchers suggested that depending on the terrain, the elephants could make use of the ground transmitted data over many miles for identifying the place where the remaining of their herd is.
One of the lead researchers of the team, Beth Mortimer said that they were astonished by knowing the dimension of the forces being produced on the surface, which were initiated by the vocalization of the elephants. Mortimer further said that they discovered the forces produced via the call of the elephants “were comparable to the forces” produced when they walk quickly. Mortimer added that this implies the elephant calls have the capability of traveling up to many distances via the ground.
The findings have extended a new method for detecting elephants and analyzing their behavior despite their not being in sight. This would help to get the real-time data on elephants and to prevent the threats to them in distant locations.
The research team even carried out an experiment “wielding a sledgehammer on the ground” for estimating the vibrations that are generated by vehicles, people, and aircraft, in order to identify the different noises produced by human activities, which may get picked up at the time of recording the elephants.