on 19 December 2017
This book was first published in 1998, has 283 pages, 17 chapters, 3 B/W maps but no photos. The book is dedicated to the elephants. KATHERINE BOYNTON PAYNE (Katy) was born in 1937. She married ROGER PAYNE in 1960 and their marriage lasted until 1985. They had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Katy is a naturalist, specialises in music and biology and has been studying the vocalisation of animals. For 15 years, she did research on songs of humpback whales. In 1984, she noticed throbbing near an elephant cage and thought that elephants could be making calls too deep for humans to hear. This 'infrasound' was then studied with special equipment in Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe. These elephant calls were travelling over long distances affecting their behaviour.
Other sources of infrasound are earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, wind, thunder, ocean storms, gigantic motions of Earth, air fire and water. In Africa and India , over the years, people studying elephants were wondering how elephants living separately apart, could find and communicate with each other. Some had wondered about use of sounds below human hearing. The distance the sound travelled depended on the medium, strength of sound and its frequency. The lower the sound, the lesser the loss and longer the distance. To study this, Katy went to Amboseli NP to work with JOYCE POOLE and the elephants, in 1985/86. They heard all sort of sounds produced by the elephant family and the groups. Elephants were making '3' calls for every '1' heard by Katy. But Katy suffered from malaria and side effects of anti-malarial medications.
The bull elephant makes 'musth rumbles'. This sound travels even further at night. Joyce had learnt to translate some of the elephant calls ie calf calling rumbles to which mothers responded with reassuring rumbles. Loud vocalisations were also made by females when they are visited by males in musth, before and after mating. Studying 'desert elephants' in Damaraland, Namibia was harder, in this very hot, barren, waterless area. More experiments were done in Etosha. They found that loud elephant calls might be heard by another elephant as far as 9.8 km away. The female elephants try not to call at night, as it might attract the attention of lions. In 1986, Katy went to Sengwa, Zimbabwe. to look at the elephants coordinating their movements over distances of several Kms, for weeks at a time.
On return to USA, Katy learnt that poaching had increased and elephants had been culled in 1991. Katy returned to Sengwa in June 1992, studying the elephant 'wells' and baboon wells. Elephants knew how deep the water table was and they only dug wells of their trunk length. In June 1994, Katy visited Johannesburg and then went back to visit her friends in Zimbabwe, discussing trans-relocation of elephants.
Some other books of interest are:-
(1) Elephant, Commander Blunt, 1933 (1971)
(2) Kingdom of Elephants, Temple Perkins, 1955
(3) Natural History of the African Elephant, Sylvia Sikes, 1971
(4) Portraits in the Wild, Cynthia Moss, 1976
(5) Battle for the Elephants, Iain Douglas Hamilton, 1992
(6) Coming to the age of Elephants, Joyce Poole, 1996
(7) Elephant, Steve Bloom, 2006
(8) Great Tuskers of Africa, Johan Marais, 2006
(9) Secret Elephants, Gareth Patterson, 2010
(10)Elephant Dawn, Sharon Pincott, 2016
Having born in Kenya, I found this book interesting.