New Scientist: Infrasound radar listens for elephant rumbles to warn villagers

19 November, 2015 - 14:10

A collaboration project between Uppsala University, Colombo University and SICS on elephant monitoring on Sri Lanka with the final goal of preventing them from entering villages and damaging crops is showing results.

"In January an elephant entered Moragoda village in northern Sri Lanka and killed a father in his vegetable garden. In July, a dairy farmer from the east was killed taking his cow out to graze. Now an ambitious project aims to warn communities when elephants approach by tracking these giants around the country via their rumbling calls.

Chamath Keppitiyagama of the University of Colombo is working on a radar system that listens out for the inaudible rumbles of elephants’ infrasound, something that was discovered in the 1980s. Infrasound is useful for locating and tracking elephants over long distances – the low frequency means the sounds travel a long way through the air.
The researchers are building software to help their sensors pick infrasound out of the background noise. This means recording a lot of elephant grunts."

Read the article in New Scientist.