Episode 2 | Elephant Whisperer
Preview | Episode 2 | Elephant Whisperer
Learn about Gorongosa elephants with Bob Poole and his sister Joyce.
About Episode 2 | Elephant Whisperer
Premiered: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Off The Fence Bob Poole and his sister Joyce, a renowned elephant expert, face charging elephants to gain insights into elephant behavior. Meanwhile, Mt. Gorongosa is taken over by a group of rebel soldiers, creating a tense air of uncertainty and fear in the park.
Facts From the Episode
Gorongosa used to be an elephant haven with over 4,000 of them in the park and surrounding areas. During the civil war, the elephants were massacred for their meat and ivory, and over 90 percent of the population was lost.
Female elephants live in matriarchial family groups of multiple generations. When the young bulls reach maturity around 12–15-years-old, they leave the family group and join up with other males.
When the war ended, about 250 elephants were left alive in the park. Of these few remaining survivors, only four are bulls of breeding age.
Elephants are being decimated across Africa. Hundreds of thousands have been killed for their ivory. They say one is killed every fifteen minutes.
The civil war in Mozambique didn't just shape elephants’ behavior, it shaped their bodies. The females that survived were mostly tuskless, and now those females are producing tuskless daughters.
The behavior of elephants both in the wild and in captivity suggests that elephants are able to use their long-term memories to "keep score" and to exact "revenge" for wrongs done.
There are many different characteristics that can help identify an elephant: sex; body size and shape; tusk length and configuration; ear size and shape; ear venation patterns; ear notches, tears and holes. Notches, tears and holes in an elephant's ear, or the lack of them, are the most durable features, while tusks are prone to change over time — they grow, they break and they regrow.