The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has released a powerful new video with the most emotional soundtrack you’ve ever heard — the sounds of an elephant fleeing a poacher.

Capturing the sound of this tragedy was unplanned. Researchers from Cornell University had been studying low frequency communication of elephants using remote devices left in the field which were then retrieved and analyzed months later, reports WCS. In addition to these sounds, the devices picked up this particular moment.


Here’s a brief background of what’s going on in the ivory trade, to catch you up:

  • In 2012 alone, some 35,000 elephants were killed.
  • Illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking is the fourth largest transnational crime.
  • Ivory—sometimes called “the white gold of jihad”— helps fund the military operations of notorious terrorist groups, and its demand is on the rise in China.
  • Some poachers are resorting to poisoning elephants to obtain their tusks.
  • Nearly six tons of raw and carved ivory from well over 1,000 elephants was crushed just last week in the U.S. to remove them from the black market and send a message to poachers.
  • Solutions have been proposed from hiring more park rangers to shooting poachers on the spot to deter reduce the impact of poaching.

The video is part of WCS’s 96 Elephants project, so named for the number of elephants killed each day in Africa by poachers. The project aims to educate people about the poaching of elephants for their ivory, and about the need to create a united global front against poaching. The 96 Elephants website presents information about elephant intelligence, their role in the environment, and our with this species. Background is provided about the ivory trade along with what is being done to stop it, and what you can do to help.

The 96 Elephants campaign has WCS conservationists working alongside rangers, ecoguards, rural communities, government officials and even Labrador retrievers to turn the tide for elephants. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

  • Share the video and sign the petition on 96 Elephants.
  • Never, ever, purchase ivory.
  • If you have ivory, consider getting rid of it. As Peter Knights, the executive director of WildAid said to Huffington Post,”We don’t put heroin back on the market after we seize it.”
  • Support companies like Etsy and Ebay who don’t allow the sale of ivory on their website.
  • Support education in Africa, grants for innovative businesses in Africa, check out micro loan services like Kiva to support someone doing good. If better trade is supported and communities are allowed to flourish properly, crime will decrease.

Below you can find WCS’s video. How long can you listen?


Note: The audio recording is quiet, so you may need to turn up the volume of your device to hear the audio.

Image Source: Benh LIEU SONG / Flickr