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Elephant Roundup

June 22, 2007

A herd of endangered elephants went into hiding–and has recently been found.


Elephant island. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

During two decades of civil war in Sudan, the herds of elephants that once roamed the country have been wiped out by hunters. But a U.S. environmental group has just discovered a lost herd of hundreds of elephants on a remote swamp island there. The crocodile- and mosquito-infested swamps aren’t ideal for the animals, but they’re worse for poachers. Just to play it safe, though, scientists aren’t revealing the elephants’ exact whereabouts.

In other news, Stanford researcher Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell has discovered that elephants can perceive distant rumblings from one another through their feet, folding their ears back and touching the ground delicately with their toes to listen. Recently, she found that elephants can understand the warning vibrations produced by neighboring elephant herds, but not those of foreign elephants.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.