How are researchers tracking wild elephant behavior?

Answer: wearable tech

by / March 2, 2017

In a new study that assesses the sleep patterns of two wild, free-roaming female African elephants, researchers used tech more commonly found these days on human wrists: “Fitbits” for 10,000-pound animals.

While the elephants might not be so interested in keeping count of their daily steps or how many sets of stairs they climb, they were equipped with three high-tech devices to help the scientists monitor their movements and therefore track their sleep activity: an “actiwatch” implanted in their trunks; a collar with GPS and gyroscope; and a portable weather station.

The findings? The elephants in the study slept an average total of only two (two!) hours a day, and on several occasions went without sleep for up to 46 hours.