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Cynthia Moss and her research team have been closely observing Amboseli elephants since 1972 to attain a greater understanding of these highly celebrated wild elephants of the world. The team has attained an in-depth knowledge of these intelligent and complex animals. The revelations from Amboseli form the basis of contemporary understanding of elephants and provide the tools needed to conserve and protect them.


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The trust comprises of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and the African Elephant Conservation Trust. It is a Kenya and USA based knowledge and awareness program to promote elephant conservation through long-term research projects, training, capacity building, community relations, public awareness and advocacy.

The Elephant Trust program is endorsed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. KWS maintains the park infrastructure, protects the rich and varied ecosystem and keeps Amboseli National Park's unique habitat in as natural a state as possible.

Amboseli Elephant Research Project - AERP
Between 1973 and 1989, 85% of Kenya's elephants were poached for ivory. Thanks to the constant presence of AERP and local Maasai people, Amboseli elephants have been spared.

Over the past three decades, AERP has identified more than 2000 individual elephants, named and numbered them and detailed their life histories.

Each day, the research team criss-crosses the park to monitor the 55 family groups and several hundred independent adult bulls. By ear patterns and tusk characteristics, the team can identify any of the 1,300 elephants alive today.

Savanna Elephant Vocalization Project-ElephantVoices
Communication is the glue that binds the social network of an intelligent species. Joyce Poole, AERP Research Director, is gathering and analyzing Amboseli elephant vocalizations.

ElephantVoices aims to establish a unique scientific understanding of the intelligence and social complexity of elephants and enhance the toolbox for their conservation and management. The multimedia collection is available at

Elephant Conservation
Thirty years of AERP presence and protection in Amboseli:

One of the last undisturbed elephant populations in Africa
Tranquil elephants with an intact social structure and individuals ranging in age from newborn to over 60
Knowledge gained from a natural, well-known population is a key to devising elephant conservation strategies throughout Africa
Improvement in attitudes of Maasai community

Elephant Advocacy
Major contribution to change of attitude towards elephants:

Enhanced public awareness worldwide through five full-length documentary films, seven books, seventy-five scientific publications and forty popular articles
No longer considered just a commodity ivory-on-the-hoof or as objects of entertainment, elephants now widely viewed as intelligent, complex, sentient beings
Former hard-line utilization schools now discussing the ethical side of managing elephants
Major influence in ethical debate on keeping captive elephants

Elephant Research
Scientific discoveries:

Structure and dynamics of complex social networks
Matriarchs as repository of survival knowledge
Musth and male 'seasonality'
Reproductive strategies and use of range
Social relations and genetic relatedness

Will's Africa Trust has financially contributed towards helping the Elephant Trust stay in operation, maintain its projects and actualize new projects.

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