Krista the Krazy Kataloguer's Reviews > The Elephant Scientist

The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O'Connell
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's review
May 15, 12

bookshelves: read-childrens-books, read-goodreads-authors
Read in May, 2012

The elephant scientist of the title is Caitlin O'Connell, who studies elephants in Namibia, Africa. I found her observations of elephant behavior fascinating. She discovered that they can communicate through "hearing" vibrations with their feet, which have special cells for the purpose! She also experimented with types of dangers calls, in hopes of finding one that could be used to warn elephants away from farms, where they can damage crops. So all this research has a practical purpose! Elephants need a lot of territory to range in, because they eat so much, but as their habitat is encroached upon by farms, they come into conflict with the farmers. Toward the end she also describes how they tell individual elephants apart by observing unique features of their ears--nicks, cuts, tears, etc. What saddened me was in the last chapter, as she comments upon how the wild African and Asian elephant population has decreased from some 10 million one hundred years ago to about 500,00 African and 20,000 Asian elephants today. I hope that books like this one, another in the "Scientists in the Field" series, will teach the next generation to appreciate and try to preserve these huge, intelligent creatures. Highly recommended!
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