About the Author

Nick Sims

Contributor

Nick always had a love for nature. Growing up in Johannesburg, the annual family trip to the bush (particularly the Kruger Lowveld region of South Africa) became an escape from city life. When he and his brother weren't physically in the bush, they ...

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12 Comments

on The Sound of Silence

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Camping in Kruger last month, we encountered a huge herd if elephant one morning just north of Satara. They suddenly started running towards the road. From young bulls to small babies. Unfortunately a flock of ostriches found themselves in the path of the elephants. It was hilarious to see the elephants chasing the ostriches around. The elephants were realy upset. Trumpeting. Shaking their heads. We wondered what has upset them to react that way. Your blog explain it all so well Nick. It could have been a bull in musth. That we have seen up at Mopani once. As you say they communicate over vast distances. We won’t know what was happening, but they surely knew.

Ian Hall
Digital Tracker

I was in Northern Kenya last year at the Elephant Orphanage in the Matthews Range and they won’t mix orphan elephants from Northern and Southern Kenya because of the communication issues, I am told it is if they communicate with different dialects

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Ian,
That’s fascinating! I’m definitely going to do some research on this…!

Darlene Knott
Digital Tracker

Very interesting article! Elephants are amazing animals and their communication skills are beyond us for sure. Thanks for sharing!

Suecol777
Explorer

Nick, I loved the photos and the information but I have a question – is this at all similar, this infrastructure communication, to the way WHALES communicate?

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Elephants are amazing- smart, empathetic, family oriented…… spending time with these animals is a special treat, especially if you witness the birth of a new member of the herd. While many mammals give birth in privacy, alone, elephants are surrounded by their mothers, aunts, youngsters during the birth process. It’s beautiful to watch how they all work in tandem , insuring the calf is up and moving, the placenta is buried and mom is bathed in dirt so as not to attract predators. ❤️🐘 thanks for such an informative blog.

Ann Richardson Berg
Senior Digital Ranger

Hello Nick,
Great written! Elephants are so impressive in many ways! The picture with the elephants and the impalas was very beautiful but all of them was fantastic pictures! Thank you for sharing!

Linda Rawles
Digital Ranger

Great article and pictures. When I sat with elephants last year for my birthday, I was lucky enough to witness an elephant pushing its foot deeper into the ground with its opposite leg, in order to hear better! My favorite animal and one we must vigorously protect.

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

Nick what a fascinating blog! Informative and well written. I learned much about elephant communication that I was unaware of. Very interesting! And James….you brought wonderful images to this segment. Loved the foot, peaceful image with elephants and impalas and, of course, the cute Ellie running to safety. Good job!

I loved reading this. Thank you for educating me as to how elephants communicate.

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Very instructive Nick! Have you heard of the subsonic work done by Katy Payne called “Silent Thunder”. She used past experience with whale subsonic communication to explore how elephants communicate. She made tremendous strides in categorizing the elephant’s silent subsonic language in terms of relating certain sounds with herd movements. It’s a relatively short read but well worth the few bucks that Amazon sells it for. We initially found it in South Africa at the airport but that was a very long time ago..

Leonie De Young
Senior Digital Ranger

A really interesting blog Nick. I love ellies and particularly the babies – as you say, they are inquisitive and very daring – only when Mum is around. My favourite animals. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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