Eavesdropping on Elephants, How Listening Helps Conservation
by Patricia Newman
Millbrook Press, 2018
Patricia Newman has done it again. She’s written another compelling science story, this time on elephants. A must read for elephant lovers.
The story opens in a tropical forest in Central African Republic where readers learn the many ways in which elephants are “a keystone species…that helps the forest flourish.” Readers also learn about an elephant’s “infrasound”, communication so low it is not detectible by humans. And they learn about forest elephants’ behaviors, through studies conducted over decades. Exploring the difficulties scientists faced, Patricia invites readers to almost participate in the thinking used to resolve challenges experienced while learning about elephant culture. Readers are invited to walk through science technology used, hypothesis set and studies that led to strategies to help save elephants. Readers learn to think like a scientist.
The book also includes several QR codes readers can use to help readers practice their elephant-sound identifying skills, watch a rarely seen birthing celebration, and watch a standoff between two male elephants.
The book is sure to inspire in many readers a passion for elephants as well as a deep curiosity and appreciation about the science of studying animals in the wild.
Ms. Newman’s 2017 book, Sea Otter Heroes, The Predators that Saved an Ecosystem, received the Sibert Informational Honor Award for Non-Fiction, an honor rarely given to science books.