The Planet

New Program Teaches Elephants to Avoid Poachers by Using Their Sense of Smell

by Tod Perry

March 3, 2016
Photo via YouTube

According to SOS Elephants, in the 1930s there were an estimated 7 to 10 million elephants living in Africa. That number has been reduced to a shocking 300,000. With 30,000 to 38,000 African elephants being poached every year, we’ve reached the point where, if nothing dramatic is done to change the trend, these intelligent beings may be lost forever. That’s why an effort to teach elephants how to identify poachers themselves is crucial.

In the video below, ABC News’ T.J. Holmes meets Chova, a 20-year-old elephant that’s part of a groundbreaking training program at the Adventures With Elephants reserve in Bela-Bela, South Africa. Trainers working there with elephants are teaching them to track poachers by using their sense of smell. An elephant’s ability to smell is twice as powerful as a dog’s, and five times stronger than a human’s. Although the research is still in its early phases, teaching elephants to defend themselves in the wild could go a long way toward preventing their extinction.

 


 

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New Program Teaches Elephants to Avoid Poachers by Using Their Sense of Smell