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3rd March 2023 - World Wildlife Day
Rare footage of wild Forest Elephant fleeing from a technologically generated bee sound in Liberia.

A cooperation between Save the Elephants in Kenya, Wild Survivors in Tanzania, and ELRECO in Liberia
Follow link to video on Youtube  
Forest Elephant video
Follow link to press release   Conservation Partnership Press Release

Watch as a huge male Forest Elephant reacts to an acoustic elephant deterrent called a Buzz BoxTM, created by Wild Surviviors, in a remote Liberian forest near farmland. As the foraging bull approaches a community boundary, he triggers the Buzz Box which plays the sound of agitated bees buzzing. The bull stops mid-munch, recoils, seems to stare in aghast at where the sound is coming from and then turns on his heels and races away. This rare camera trap footage captured by elephant research and conservation organisation, ELRECO, provides evidence that Buzz Boxes are effective in keeping both Forest and Savannah Elephants safely outside of farms and could be a valuable mitigation tool in human-elephant conflict (HEC) hotspots across Africa.

April 2022 – March 2023
First of all, a big sorry to all our faithful followers for the long silence! Little Noku really came out of the blue, so besides our planned project activities, the past year we were very busy with coddling up little Noku and establish a proper elephant rehabilitation programme. Being a small organization in terms of key staff, the big advantage of ELRECO is low overhead costs, so that we can invest most of the donations directly in conservation field activities; on the other hand, though, it means that we sometimes don’t have enough time to regularly update our homepage. However, now we make up for it! First of all: Noku is thriving splendidly! Her shoulder height raised from 85 cm to 102 cm, and her current weight is estimated at around 200 kg! A few weeks after she had been confiscated, we started to build up an elephant rehabilitation station in a small village close to the Wonegizi Protected Area in northwestern Liberia, where Noku has been transferred to in May 2022. Four keepers take touchingly care of her, and together with ELRECO prepare Noku for the reintroduction to a free life in the forest again. This includes extensive daily walks into the Reserve, and since December 2022 we also conduct regular multiple-day excursions with camping in the forest. At this point, we would like to thank all our donors again for their great support, especially Future for Elephants, who currently cover most of the costs of the rehabilitation programme.
Besides Noku, in the past year ELRECO further strongly engaged in the continuation and extension of the Human-Elephant-Conflict mitigation programme. Up to date, we have trained more than 250 affected farmers in community-based HEC mitigation methods (i.e. simple, cheap, easy to learn and apply) – more details see the article from 31.10.2021 below. Further, we have trained several FDA Rangers and selected, advanced farmers as Trainers. The additional Trainer Teams of HEC mitigation experienced staff help to further spread out the programme in other HEC-affected areas. Last but not least, ELRECO also conducted a lot of tests of the effectiveness of different methods and materials under controlled conditions on a pilot testing farm. Among others, in cooperation with Wild Survivors, who work in East Africa, and Save the Elephants, we trialled an automatically triggered audio device that plays different sounds that are know to deter elephants. One of them being the sound of agitated honey bees. See a first result under NEWS from 03rd March 2023!
March 2022 – Baby elephant rescued!
In late February 2022, ELRECO got the emergency call that an orphaned elephant calf was confiscated by FDA in a remote village in Northwest Liberia. We were on international travel that time, but thanks to FDA’s brilliant field team including the veterinarian Anne König from Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, the baby could be rescued and brought to FDA’s nearest field station. It is a girl, her name is Noku. Sadly, Noku’s mother likely was poached, and now she totally depends on human care, which is a huge challenge! Noku is still very little, her current shoulder height is only 85 cm and her molar teeth just broke through, so we assume she is only a few months old, maybe 5-6. She is still a baby who heavily depends on her mother (both physically and emotionally) and milk feed. There is no elephant orphanage in Liberia, but ELRECO and FDA work closely together to provide Noku with the best possible care and future options. Noku's caretaking team currently comprises three persons who are all doing an amazing job. Her main focal person is Kesselly, a young graduate of the Forestry Training Institute and FDA volunteer, who is supported by two FDA ladies, who mainly assist him with handling Noku, preparing food and the milk. Noku cannot chew solid food yet, so she is mainly fed with milk, supplemented by soft food like bananas, papaya, avocado etc. Kesselly also walks her in the nearby forest, where she learns more about her natural environment and gets to know additional food sources. Thanks to her timely and professional rescue, as well as the great caretaking, Noku is now in a very good condition. It has to be noted that, given the young age and critical physical condition of the calf at the time of her rescue, it is almost a miracle that Noku has survived. In the long term, Noku shall be rehabilitated to a free life with other wild elephants again in a nearby Protected Area.
A big thanks to all our partners and donors for their great support, which allowed us to both provide instant help like milk powder, food, equipment, gasoline for the FDA motorbike etc., as well as to count on support for Noku’s long term care.
End of a fruitful year 2021
Year’s end – a contemplative time, and we would like to take this occasion to give a heartfelt thank-you to all our funders and donors. Big thanks to the Born Free Foundation, the Elephant Crisis Fund of Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network, Future for Elephants e.V., USAID Liberia and all individual donors for your financial support of the Forest Elephant Conservation Project Liberia. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year!
31.10.2021 – Mitigating Human-Elephant-Conflicts
During the nationwide status survey in the Northwest of Liberia we realised among others that a lot of farmers have problems with elephants and other wild animals raiding their crops during the rainy season (May – October), especially closer to the harvesting time in August, September and October. In general, elephants don’t need to supplement their diet with field crops, as there is enough food for them in the forest, but the increasing destruction and disturbance of their natural habitat, e.g. by slash-and-burn agriculture, mining and bushmeat poaching, pushes them aside to peripheral forest areas, closer to human settlements and farming areas. Given that crops have been cultivated and grafted over centuries, they contain more nutrients and less indigestible fibers or inedible secondary phytochemicals, and therefore are an attractive food source for elephants and other wild animals too. What better place to go than to a richly laid table next door? Understandably most farmers are scared and afraid of the grey giants, and hence they usually run away from their farms and don’t dare to return as long as elephants are around. Although there is an array of established methods how to keep elephants and other wild animals away from the farms without harming them or putting humans into danger, most farmers are not aware of these measures. Hence human-wildlife conflict mitigation so far was hardly applied in Liberia, and that’s why we focused this year’s rainy season solely on tackling this issue. First of all it was important to prepare farmers in time before the critical time of the year, so that they are immediately ready to apply the methods as soon as elephants appear in their area. Starting already in May, we so far have trained almost 200 affected farmers and Rangers in suitable, simple and cheap Human-Elephant-Conflict mitigation methods. These include for example making a lot of noise (especially vuvuzelas and metallic sounds proved to be effective), setting up scarecrows, making fire and burning chili bricks, as well as setting up chili grease fences. Elephants don’t like chili, so the latter two methods are among the most impactful means to deter elephants from entering the farms. However, most important over all is the “active farm guarding”, meaning that humans stay on their farms 24/7, and do not go home (as usual) in the evening and leave the crops unattended. Elephants usually avoid contact with humans and therefore crop raiding happens mostly in the night. Our training courses besides a theoretical part include a lot of practicals, and in each trained community we set up at least one demonstration farm, where other interested farmers from the surrounding areas can go to learn about the methods. Another key point in our approach is to keep communities as independent and self-reliant as possible by predominantly using materials available and cost-free on site, such as rice straw, elephant dung and dried chili for chili bricks, or machetes, pot lids, natural whips made from lianas etc. for making noise.
May 2021 – Circa 1.000 Forest Elephants left in Liberia
West Africa has lost more than 90% of its elephant range during the 20th century, and most of its known residual Forest Elephant populations are small, fragmented and isolated. Since systematic surveys are lacking from most of the relevant countries, there are no solid up-to-date figures on their remaining total number in West Africa. In the western part of the Upper Guinean Rainforest, Liberia is the most significant country for biodiversity conservation in general, and one of the last refuges for the survival of a sustainable West African Forest Elephant population. Compared to its neighbouring countries Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia has not only retained the largest portion (> 40%) of the remaining Upper Guinean Rainforest, but also the highest number of Forest Elephants in the region. The latest African Elephant Status Report from 2016 lists 135-155 Forest Elephants left in Sierra Leone, 64-138 in Guinea, and 650-800 in Côte d’Ivoire. However, according to a recent statement by the Ivorian Water and Forestry Ministry, the actual number of Forest Elephants in Côte d’Ivoire today is fewer than 500, and in Guinea they today might be only found any longer in the Ziama Biosphere Reserve, from where a drastic population collapse had been reported in 2017. Based on ELRECO’s currently implemented nationwide status survey in Liberia, which by now has been completed in the Northwest, we estimate ca. 350-450 Forest Elephants in the NW Forest Block. Considering the bigger size of remaining potential elephant habitats in the Southeast, probably a bit larger figure can be expected from the Southeastern Forest Block, so it is assumed that there are at least ca. 1.000 Forest Elephants left in Liberia today. This preliminary conservative estimate needs to be further consolidated, both by follow-up surveys in the NW and the continuation of the elephant status survey in the Southeast, but is already a very good indicator for the country’s expectable total population size. In light of the above presented figures for West Africa and Liberia’s neighbouring countries, it once again stresses the significance of Liberia as the focus and likely only hope for the survival of the last sustainable Forest Elephant populations in the region. Big thanks to all who support our Forest Elephant Conservation Project in Liberia!
25.03.2021 – African Forest Elephant now Critically Endangered!
Finally. A matter of fact well known among conservationists and postulated since years is now official: The International Union for Conservation of Nature recognizes the African Forest Elephant as separate species and classifies it as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - the highest IUCN class for risk of extinction (followed by Endangered and Vulnerable). So far, the African Forest Elephant and the Savanna Elephant were clustered as one species, classified “only” Vulnerable, meaning that the Forest Elephant even skipped one level in the ranking hierarchy for risk of extinction. The Savanna Elephant is now listed “Endangered”. Actually, however, the debate about the species status of African Elephants already began in 1900, with German zoologist Paul Matschie suggesting for the first time that the Forest Elephant is a distinct species: Loxodonta cyclotis, as did Fernando Frade, a Portuguese naturalist in 1928. In 2000, the British zoologist Peter Grubb provided hard evidence, i.e. distinct physical differences, such as skull parameters, body size and tusk shape that clearly split Forest and Savanna Elephants. 2001, Alfred Roca and colleagues published a landmark paper on elephant genomics, which found distinct genetic differences, and in 2010 scientists provided additional genetic evidence that showed that Forest and Savanna Elephants split 5-6 million years ago. This is around the same time that woolly mammoths split with Asian elephants, and humans split with chimps. However, despite all these hard facts Forest Elephants and Savanna Elephants were still considered one species, and listed Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. One reason for that was among others the “hybrid problem”, meaning the fact that in some overlapping habitats Forest and Savanna Elephants can mate and produce fertile offspring, which actually violates the classical definition of a biological species. But nowadays, besides reproduction other criteria such as morphology, genetics and molecular biology should be considered when defining a species. Anyway, now the debate is finally off the table and ELRECO very much welcomes the decision of IUCN. Certainly, human definitions will not change facts and the real situation of the Forest Elephant, and certainly it does not mean that the Forest Elephant now “suddenly” is Critically Endangered - we know this already for a while. But still, the recognition as separate species and reclassification of its Red List status is important for conservation – not only because the international headlines will create global awareness, but especially because the revision can help to raise money for Forest Elephant protection. Unfortunately, funds for nature conservation are always limited, so donors understandably have to set priorities which projects they want to support, and hereby a species’ conservation status often plays an important role. So we very much hope that the Forest Elephant’s “new” status will enhance its chance for survival and that it is not yet too late to safeguard these wonderful animals!
February 2021 – Exciting Times
The long silence since the last update was not due to Christmas holidays but because during the European winter time it is dry season here in Liberia and that is the time when we are always very busy with field work. End of October we visited the two Guinean elephants and escorting Rangers in Nimba, a county in North Liberia. This was really exciting! Given that these two elephants are habituated to humans it was possible to approach and observe them at close range! Meanwhile, i.e. since the 25th of December, they are back in their original home, the Ziama Biosphere Reserve in Guinea. However, we in Liberia, i.e. the Elephant Emergency Committee as well as the established Ranger escort teams, stay vigilant and prepared for the case they should come back some day. In November, December and January we conducted three more extensive field trips to survey the remaining potential elephant habitats in the Northwest. In early February we implemented a training for Rangers and conservation students of the southeastern Forest Block in elephant dung sampling, so that we from now on will also collect material for genetic analysis from this area. Now we are mainly busy with the data analysis of our field surveys in the Northwest, and at the same time prepare an extensive training course for communities that are affected by Human-Elephant Conflicts, i.e. crop-raiding elephants. Besides Gola Konneh we will include ten other communities, and train them in established mitigation methods such as active farm guarding, making noise, using torches or spotlights, fire and burning chili bricks. All Communities will further receive a basic Starter Kit with required materials such as a megaphone, flashlights, whistles as well as face masks, gloves and chili powder for the production of the chili bricks.
September 2020 – Friendly Visitors
In early September, two elephants crossed over from Guinea and entered Liberia in Northern Nimba County. They come from the Ziama Massif in Guinea, where they are well known from a long-term monitoring program. The two bulls might be brothers and lost their mother in August 2016, when she was killed by Guinean poachers. Since then the two orphans stayed and wandered around close to communities, and thus became habituated and used to the presence of humans. This extraordinary situation makes them very vulnerable and an easy target for poachers. Hence an Emergency Elephant Committee, including ELRECO and other relevant partners and authorities in the region, was set up to come up with a plan how best to coordinate and mobilize funds for required actions such as safeguarding the elephants, creating awareness and taking risk prevention measures to protect local people and their farms. After arriving in Liberia, the two charismatic visitors continued trekking across the country, escorted and protected by rangers, entered Côte d’Ivoire, and meanwhile (22.10.2020) are back in Liberia, northern Nimba, again. Given their somewhat random journey to date, it is not possible to predict where they are heading next. They keep us really busy and make it a very exciting story! As soon as the road conditions allow, we will pay the two gentle hikers a visit, among others to collect some fresh dung samples for genetic analysis to find out if and how they are related.
30.06.20 – Emergency field trip to Gola Konneh
With onset of the rainy season elephants start to leave the deep forest sites and spread out over larger areas. That’s the time when Human-Elephant-Conflicts (HEC) increase. Especially the remaining potential elephant habitats outside of Protected Areas are progressively reduced and fragmented by human activities such as slash-and-burn for agriculture. Moreover, the rainy season is the harvesting time for a number of crops such as corn, rice and cassava, causing elephants to enter the farms and “enjoy the rich buffet”. Mostly affected are farms far away from settlements and close to the margins of remaining elephant habitats, but sometimes elephants do also come closer to the villages and even enter them.
This happened recently in Gola Konneh District, which is located at the western end of the northern forest block, adjacent to Gola National Park. Mid of May we received several phone calls of agitated villagers, telling us that elephants roam around in the surrounding farms and occasionally enter the villages by night. Together with our national partner FDA we quickly set up an emergency field team and, under observance of the national COVID 19 regulations, managed to organize an emergency field trip to Gola Konneh, where we held several meetings with affected farmers and also visited disturbed farms.
HEC are a common problem in all countries where human activities overlap with elephant habitats. In some areas they have been very well studied over years, and today a toolkit of effective HEC mitigation measures is available, listing a number of useful methods including so called community-based mitigation measures (CBMM), which are cheap, simple and more or less instantly applicable by the local communities without heavily depending on external technical assistance and funding. In Liberia there is still a big need for awareness and training in such HEC mitigation measures. Our field mission showed that people in Gola Konneh do not know much about possible mitigation measures other than fire and noise, which they also do not consequently apply, but usually stay passive. Understandably, most people feel scared, desperate and absolutely powerless, which often results in hatred against elephants and the belief that the only solution would be to kill problem elephants. This needs to be urgently addressed, first of all by the introduction of CBMM such as collectively guarding farms and using common deterrents like noise, flashlights and burning chili bricks. During our visit, we conducted a crash course for farmers in non-hazardous effective short-term measures for instant help, which according to their subsequent reports so far helped to keep elephants away from their villages. A more intense and comprehensive training for Gola Konneh and other communities is planned to take place later in the year. In the long-term, however, the underlying direct drivers for HEC such as the progressive human encroachment of elephant habitats have to be tackled, for example by the development and implementation of strategic land use plans.
Update on COVID 19 and our work in Liberia
In Liberia the first official Corona case occurred mid of March 2020; so far the infection rate is comparably moderate and mostly limited to the capital Monrovia, while the countryside is not so much affected yet. Liberia is one of the countries that was most seriously hit by the Ebola crisis in 2014 and thus very familiar with handling situations such as under the current COVID 19 pandemic. Luckily, the national regulations put in place so far did not affect our work too much, i.e. we could continue operating, with some limitations though (e.g. big awareness events had to be cancelled). Generally, COVID 19 certainly is a huge challenge for overall wildlife conservation, be it because running projects have to be interrupted or because potential donors shift funding priorities and cut down expected budgets. We deeply hope that COVID 19 will not seriously jeopardize elephant conservation, be it in Liberia or other countries, and tirelessly will continue our work.
31.03.20 – Taking Stock
We spent the bygone dry season, from November to February, almost exclusively in the forest to continue our field surveys. Now we have covered two third of the northwestern forest block and it is time to take stock.
Fortunately, we found elephant signs in nearly all predicted areas, and assume that there are at least five subpopulations roaming in the Northwest. They all show a healthy population structure in terms of age and size class distribution, which corresponds to the expectable natural population structure of a long-living and slow-reproducing species. The core habitats of these five groups in part lie within Protected and Proposed Protected Areas, stressing once again the need for the conservation of those important forests.
Another main result is the analysis of the Forest Elephant’s migration patterns, which are dominated by the seasonal availability of food and water resources, but also influenced by the degree of human impacts. In general elephants spread out more in the rainy season, while in the dry season they seem to stay deeper inside the forests.
The major direct threats to Forest Elephants in the NW Forest Block are human encroachment and disturbance of elephant habitats, such as slash-and-burn agriculture, mining and logging, which in certain areas lead to Human-Elephant-Conflicts, such as crop-raiding incidents. Especially in places where farms are built closer and closer to elephant habitats, conflicts are predestined. In some of the affected communities our Elephant Guards are already in operation and brief the communities in effective community-based Human-Elephant-Conflict mitigation measures.
24.10.2019 - Training of Elephant Guards
In October we carried out a training program to enhance the in-country capacity for elephant conservation in Liberia. Seven representatives of the Conservation Department of the Forestry Development Authority, as well as eight local people from four different elephant range communities were trained in Wildlife Conservation Basics, Forest Elephant Behavioural Ecology, Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation and a standardized Elephant Data Recording Protocol.
The trained “Elephant Guards“ are now continuously providing ELRECO with important first-hand information on the Forest Elephant activities in their remote areas, which allows us to immediately react, for example in case of Human-Elephant conflicts. The ongoing data collection by our field personnel further marks the beginning of a long-term elephant monitoring programme, another milestone on the way to effective elephant protection in Liberia.
12.08.2019 - World Elephant Day, Radioshow, Newspaper
Newspaper article 12.08.2019:
Liberia today joins the global village in observance of the International Elephant Day. The celebrations, first of its kind in Liberia is jointly organized by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the lead partner, Elephant Research and Conservation (ELRECO) with the distribution of promotional awareness materials as well as flyers and posters, the hosting of radio talk show on the education and importance of the Day, among others.

The global celebration is among other things geared towards bringing the world together to know the threats and importance of protecting forest elephants.

Dr. Vogt used the occasion to call on all Liberians and residents alike to sign unto a petition pledging their respective support to the survival and protection of elephants nationwide and on the continent of Africa at large.

Speaking to our reporter Monday the technical director of the Elephant Research and Conservation Dr. Tina Vogt stressed the need to protect forest elephants for the benefit of the Country.

Dr. Vogt she and her colleague, Bernhard Forster began to work in Liberia in 2010 on supporting initiatives of forest conservation but later on saw the crucial need to engage into meaningful activities to help elephants conservation which she noted is very key to the conservation sector.

Currently she told our reporter that there is a nationwide survey ongoing in North-Western forest block of Liberia to update the Country on where elephants are including the number of elephants, something Dr. Vogt noted when completed will help relevant stakeholders in making an informed decision for further conservation measures.

She at the same time called for more awareness on the protection of elephants nationwide.

Dr. Vogt who named some of the benefits of elephants as: soil fertilization, core habitat protection and maintenance, the clearing of roads for other animal passage including the creation of water and mineral holes for other purposes and many others.

She however pointed out some of the threats that include: Habitat destruction and fragmentation, population growth, illegal killing and hunting of elephants and many more something she added are still big challenges that they are working on to address gradually.

Additionally, she indicated that they are also developing methods to help in mitigating conflicts as well under their respective 10-year plan.

The ELRECO technical boss discouraged Liberians from engaging into wildlife crimes.

She encouraged local residents to always channel their issues through the FDA in a drive to help solve it.

The Chief Executive Officer of Elephants Research and Conservation Bernhard Forster said they are working in about eight communities to effectively create the necessary awareness aimed at mitigating the problems.

He wants Liberia through its people to play a very important role in the survival of forest elephants.

Bernhard said they are working -and are equally concerned about co-existence rather than conflict in addressing the issues affecting the growth process in elephant conservation.

He then praised the FDA for its impressive and collaborative working relationship with ELRECO something he termed as been very impressive.

He pledged his entity’s commitment to abide by all necessary regulations as well as the laws of Liberia in promoting the sector. The ELRECO CEO said he is confident that upon the completion of their ongoing surveys he hopes of positive outcomes that will help mitigate some of the challenges facing elephant conservation in Liberia.

He said as part of their ten years National Elephants Action Plan (NEAP) they will endeavour to implement a comprehensive capacity-building program including to ensure that identified elephants populations are protected as well as asses the current status and distribution of elephants through a national baseline survey.

At the same time the Wildlife manager of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Abednego Gbarway commended rural community dwellers for working with the FDA to ensure the protection of the forest.

Mr. Gbarway said as a result of the community’s involvement they are able to under the law have 30% of forest protected in Liberia in the future.

Currently there five Protected Areas in Liberia which comprise ca. 13% of the total forest cover, he named as: The Sapo National Park, Grebo-Krahn National Park, Nimba Reserve, Gola Forest, Lake Piso and the reserved Wonegizi.

The Wildlife manager of FDA said elephants are vulnerable but was also quick to add that it is equally and totally forbidden under the Laws of Liberia to kill it.

Hunting, vegetation-clearing and mining among others are threats to the wildlife something he noted should be discouraged mainly among the rural inhabitants.

In Africa there are two types of elephants namely: Savannah Elephant and Forest Elephant respectively.

In Liberia occurs the Forest Elephant and it is as well by law protected meaning no one under the law should hunt, kill, eat, capture, possess or sell an elephant or any elephant body parts something that is up till press time a serious challenge.

It can be recalled that wildlife conservation in Liberia began in the 1980’s and since then made considerable progress to include the adaptation of the wildlife conservation law, designation of protected areas as well as endorsement of the national species action plan and many others.

The World Elephant Day is an international event annually celebrated on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants.

It was established on August 12, 2012 by the Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims and the elephant reintroduction foundation of Thailand.

The goal of the international elephant day is to create awareness of the urgent plight of African and Asian elephants and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better care and management of captive and wild elephants.
20.06.2019 - First Map, Analysis, Planning
After five months of fieldwork we are ready to carry out the first analysis of the collected survey data. For us that’s very exciting times. The analysis will help to verify our first fieldwork impressions and give us a better understanding of the Forest Elephants’ spatial distribution, relative abundance and potential migration routes in the north-west of Liberia. In 2019 we will conduct one more fieldtrip, and then will have surveyed more than 50% of the northern forest block.
01.05.2019 - Breakdowns, Lessons and new Friends
The rainy season is approaching and the first downpours already caused the typical traffic chaos – nothing extraordinary but just normal in Liberia. Eventually one always gets along somehow, just needs a little bit patience. On our last trip we were also facing some challenges – one time our car got stuck in a bridge, another time the breaks failed. No problem at all however for our experienced driver! Having finally reached our destination we carried out awareness programmes about Forest Elephants in several schools and communities and made many new friends.
01.04.2019 Measuring, Sampling and Footprints
Let’s go on our next elephant survey! Destination: the county Lofa in the extreme Northwest of Liberia, bordering Sierra Leone. Here we instantly found a lot of fresh elephant signs. Data recording includes the measurement of footprints – the circumference of the forefoot corresponds approximately to half of the elephant’s shoulder height – as well as the collection of dung samples for genetic analysis. Elephants however also leave other signs such as stripped tree bark, bended branches and chafe marks on tree trunks which also give a good indication of the elephant’s body size.
27.12.2018 - Into the jungle
Since the foundation of ELRECO in July 2017 we were mainly busy with proposal writing and potential donor acquisition to finance the fieldwork in Liberia. Thanks to the donation from several private sponsors as well as our main sponsor Born Free and a close collaboration with Fauna and Flora International we were able to start our first expedition into the challenging forest block of Wologizi in the north-west of Liberia. Together with local guides we crossed high mountains and the rapids of Lofa River to penetrate into the heart of Wologizi where the grey giants were supposed to still occur today. The two weeks trip was worth all the exertions as we could proof that a relative large number of Forest elephants are still living in this area. More detailed studies will be necessary to get a better understanding of their abundance, spatial distribution and migration routes. Beginning January 2019 we will undertake another expedition into a different area in north-western Liberia that is also supposed to still hold Forest Elephants. Just visit the NEWS regularly to check for updates on our mission.