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This week's guest, Katy Payne, was one of the scientists interviewed in a recent 60 Minutes feature about the ongoing study of elephant behavior in the Dzanga forest clearing in the Central African Republic. This is worth watching because it contains beautiful and moving footage of elephant interaction, including how elephants behave after the death of a young calf in 2000. I believe, though have yet to confirm, that this is the footage Katy Payne describes in our program:

"We were keeping a video record. It was very painful and hard for us to do so, but we did this for the rest of the day and all the next day. And during that time, more than 100 elephants, unrelated to the calf, walked past the place where the little corpse lay on the ground. Every single one of them did something that showed alarm, concern, or somehow showed they were aware of something novel that they were approaching. Some of them took a detour around. About a quarter of them tried to lift the body up with their tusks and their trunks, sometimes trying over and over again. One adolescent male attempted to lift up this little corpse 57 times, and walked away from it and came back five different times."

The feature focuses primarily on efforts to create an “elephant dictionary” from studying vocalizations, including infrasonic sounds. Katy Payne is as warm and passionate as she was with us, giving some impressive imitations of elephant vocalizations herself.

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6 Comments

The interview with Katy Payne was wonderful. Thanks to Katy and to Speaking of Faith.
I no longer feel so alone!

Heard this on a long evening commute and thought it was very beautiful, especially the description of their mourning.

Namaste.

The people who gave me their parakeet told me a story. When they set her free to roam, the bird often landed on their wheel-chair bound, retarded daughter's head. It's not that the bird was tame. She didn't go to anyone else. I saw it as the higher spirit of one caged creature bowing to another.

I remembered her special connection with that child as I put her empty body on rock between the sky and the water yesterday saying, "I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."

Ever since reading Jeffrey Masson's book When Elephants Weep 18 years ago, I have felt a special kinship with elephants. A few weeks back, I heard on the news that 11 elephants had been slaughtered for their ivory. Then I began hearing more and more: in 2012, 32,000 elephants were slaughtered for their ivory. It is with deep and heartfelt gratitude that I say to Andrea "Thank you soo much for your work!" I know the problem is complex, and figuring out how to address the issues of poverty in Africa may be a step in the longterm protection of elephants. This was beautiful!! I love the elephants even more. What can we do besides signing petitions and praying?

Thank you Andrea.

I would like to see a world-wide legal agreement that anyone who is caught poaching any endangered animal anywhere in the world will receive an automatic life sentence in prison, no excuses (e.g., for food), and no exceptions (e.g., paying a fine in lieu of prison). Additionally, anyone caught destroying an endangered animal's habitat would receive a minimum ten year sentence in prison, no excuses, no exceptions. Today I watched a video where a tribe of native Africans had practically eliminated all Acacia trees that giraffes used for food and sold the wood for a few pennies for a small bundle. Stacks and stacks of Acacia tree wood bundles were being prepared for sale by these natives while the giraffes had nothing to eat and will soon die of starvation. The natives know this, do not care, and get away with it.

apples