Special Scientific Evening - Hidden Giants: the forest elephants of the Congo Basin
26 Feb 2008 – 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Stephen Blake and Andrea Turkalo have spent over 30 years working with and studying forest elephants; during these talks they will share their experiences of life with forest elephants, and provide an insight into the conservation needs of these hidden giants.
Deep in Africa's vast equatorial forest live the Hidden Giants – the forest elephants of the Congo Basin. Although the savannah elephant is perhaps the most striking emblem of Africa, few people know that the forest elephant even exists. Smaller in stature than their savannah cousins, forest elephants have downward pointing, straight tusks, round ears, and live in small social groups. They are ecologically very different and are also sufficiently genetically distinct from savannah elephants that most geneticists consider them a separate species of elephant.
The population status of forest elephants is poorly known due to the immense logistical and technical difficulties of inventory and monitoring, but recent evidence suggests both their numbers and range are in dramatic decline. Since the savannah elephant dominates the debate on elephant conservation and the ivory trade, the current myth is that African elephants are doing well and rebounding from the ivory catastrophe of the 1970s and 1980s. While this may be true to some extent in east and southern Africa, the opposite is true for the forest elephant, and their conservation status is becoming critical.
About the speakers
Stephen Blake and Andrea Turkalo have spent over 30 years working with forest elephants, studying their ecology and social organization in the heart of the Congo Basin, and working for their conservation. Stephen Blake has led surveys and research across much of the Congo Basin, while Andrea Turkalo has studied the same population for nearly 20 years and personally knows over 3000 individual forest elephants. They will be sharing their experiences of life with forest elephants, and providing an insight into their conservation needs.
Following the talks there will be an opportunity to meet the speakers and purchase Stephen Blake's recently published book Hidden Giants: Forest Elephants of the Congo Basin - all proceeds will go toward forest elephant conservation.
The talks are free and open to the public (no advance booking or registration required). Talks will begin at 6.30pm; doors open at 5.45pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Please note that this event was part of the 2007-08 Scientific Meetings programme
Further Information: please contact Joy Hayward, Scientific Meetings Coordinator, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY.
Tel:+44 (0)20 7449 6227. Fax: +44 (0)20 7449 6411. E-mail: email@example.com.