We know so much about elephants from years of research in so many countries. One of the many things we know is just how smart they are. But the advent of new technology, like GPS tracking collars, allows research to be seen in a new light. Take this very interesting interactive map showing the movements of 5 bull elephants in Laikipia County, central Kenya. The map was created by Wildermaps for Space for Giants. Click on the map to see the movements of the bull elephants over a 24 hour period and you’ll notice that they spend the daylight hours in the relative safety of protected areas then at night they move out into the ‘unsafe’ zones occupied by subsistence pastoralists. At dawn they return to the safe areas again.
We may view this as very smart behavior. I’m sure that many of the subsistence pastoralists who have to deal with their night-time incursions into their fields are less enthusiastic about ‘smart’ elephants (incidentally, this is the subject of my next painting, which will be revealed here fairly soon). But there is no doubt that seeing this data as an interactive map helps illustrate the behavior and will hopefully help in the creation of policy and actions on the ground which can help people and elephants share the land, thereby ensuring the survival of Africa’s giants.
Learn more about Space for Giants.
Until next time…