Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Elephants in the Media: 10 Top Stories

As I sit on an elevated bank beside the Mekong River, a natural transport system traveling from as far as Tibet, I begin reading the early news stories of the day. Fishermen and shipping vessels cruise with and against the current as they continue their ordinary rituals. With my handy electronic mobile device, I am given the power to swipe my finger in a few directions, tap away at various concentrated pixels, and access the inter-webs faster than this sentence reads. A vast plethora of knowledge exists on that little radiant rectangular screen. I can read stories of the world from the most credible sources while sipping my early morning cup of joe. How lucky we are and how grateful I am to have such access!

Especially intriguing is when the wrinkly, lumpy, mammoth sized creatures we study here at TEI make the headlines. Because they can be majestic and goofy at the same time, media coverage surrounding elephants exists all over the web. But since there are so many people talking about them, it can be overwhelming to know where to dive in first. With this blog entry, I want to facilitate that initial awakening as you learn more about elephants. Whether this is your first exposure or you’re an elephant guru, I hope you can enjoy this quick collection of media coverage and allow it to send you further into the deep end, a place full of information and knowledge of elephant culture, biology, behavior, intelligence, and conservation.

Links 1-5 featuring work by Dr. Joshua Plotnik, Founder and CEO of Think Elephants International 

1. WHYY's program "Radio Times" tunes you into a conversation with Dr. Plotnik, along with Dr. George Wittemyer, an African elephant expert, to address global elephant conservation.

2. At the recent International Primatological Society Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, Dr. Plotnik explains the complex terminology of convergent cognitive evolution and why we study elephants. 

3. The New York Times "Science Take" examines our most recent publication on elephant reassurance and empathy. 

4. The Science Channel's program "Through the Wormhole" takes a look at elephant intelligence and self-awareness through mirror self-recognition...with the voice of Morgan Freeman.

5. Still relevant, Discovery Magazine covers Dr. Plotnik's Elephant Cooperation study.

And elephants in the news around the globe...

6. Learn about the complex situation of elephants in Myanmar as the country begins to expand.The Wild Life: The Half-Captive, Half-Wild Elephants Of Myanmar

7. What does it take to complete a census of every elephant population in Africa? Find out how it's done with Africa Geographic: Episode 1

8. As gentle as you may think elephants may be, they can potentially be dangerous in both captivity and the wild. People that live next to wild elephant populations are at risk every day. Learn more about how Indian scientists are combatting the problems of human-elephant conflict as elephant habitats are destroyed.

9. Dr. George Wittemyer discusses his recent work revealing the magnitude of African elephant poaching and the ivory trade. George Wittemyer @ Colorado State University

10. From the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, learn about human-Asian elephant conflict in Sri Lanka from several perspectives. National Zoo 

And of course, check us out at thinkelephants.org to learn more about what we do and how to get in touch. 

By no means is this a complete list of elephant information...it will always keep changing and evolving. Surely there are several credible sources left out here, but just I wanted to compile some of the information I have recently come across to help the reader have a more holistic experience learning about elephants. I hope this aids that process. And if you have any suggestions of your favorite elephant articles, be sure to send them my way at daniel.dixon@thinkelephants.org

Thanks and enjoy!

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