We have the pleasure of watching elephants in broad daylight in precious few places like Udawalawe, where they are habituated enough to be placid and tolerant of onlookers. Indeed, one can get rather spoiled in this particular Park, because even the birds are unafraid and will happily sit and pose for your clumsy photograph from inches away. At times, certain exhibitionist pachyderms even appear to put on a show for the gawking crowds:
But all is not paradise. Continue reading
Some colleagues at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science have started a series featuring conversations by female scientists called Skirts in Science. The goal is to make women in science more visible to students, especially young women and girls.
I had a lot of fun in this chat with Sarah Benson-Amram, now faculty at the University of Wyoming. Here is a brief window into our work:
Many thanks to Paula Cushing, Kimberly Evans, and Marta Lindsay for inviting us to be part of this great series. Check out their channel here.
Part 2 will have a discussion of how we came to do what we do. Stay tuned!
16 June 2014 – S. de Silva
A clear sunny day, Lucy and Mickey are off in the park with Sameera while Kumara and I stay behind to catch up on office work. It’s mid-morning when Sameera calls to tell us Walawe Kota is back! Walawe Kota is the nickname we’ve given the dwarf elephant of Uda Walawe. This would be at least the third year now. What’s more, he’s in musth and reportedly fighting another male. At first, the news is a bit confusing – there’s mention of a possible injury.
I’ve never seen him in the flesh though Kumara and Sameera have. I’ve only seen pictures and video clips, so I’m eager to try our luck. The park office reports he’s been spotted not far from the entrance, so we hop in our Jeep and dash off in hopes he’s still out in the open. Continue reading
By Michael Pardo, Cornell University
Monday, March 3, 2014
,  and their calves spotted at Teak Reservoir
Sometimes it’s easy to become so focused on elephants that I forget about the other fascinating creatures that share their habitat. This afternoon, we were watching , , and their calves at the edge of the Teak Reservoir when a large gaggle of tourist jeeps frightened them off.
We decided to stay put for a few minutes after the tourists left, in the hope that the elephants might return. No such luck, but our patience was rewarded with something else. Continue reading
It was already a month ago I left Samburu! The last day was a memorable one…
We headed out after lunch. As it was my last day, I was still hoping to catch a glimpse of cats. I was hoping that we’d have a better chance being out in the afternoon.
It’s October, and the monsoon is in full force. As we wrote in an earlier post the elephants love mud. They’re just oversized piggies with big floppy ears. Here’s a video for your amusement:
Why do they love mud so much? As anyone who has seen or enjoyed a muddy spa retreat can tell you, it’s good for the skin and helps with thermoregulation. Because elephants don’t sweat, when it’s hot outside the evaporating mud cools them off. Rudyard Kipling so mischievously wrote in ‘The Elephant’s Child’:
‘Don’t you think the sun is very hot here?’ [says the Rock Python]
‘It is,’ said the Elephant’s Child, and before he thought what he was doing he schlooped up a schloop of mud from the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo, and slapped it on his head, where it made a cool schloopy-sloshy mud-cap all trickly behind his ears. Continue reading
This amazing image is a computer generated composite based on ultrasound scans of an elephant in the womb, taken for a BBC documentary (They also show a baby dolphin and dog, linked HERE). Here is what an actual ultrasound-based photograph looks like, taken at the Whipsnade Zoo. At just three months into the pregnancy, his little trunk is already visible! (Article linked HERE.)