Have you ever wanted to speak to animals? Well, the wait may finally be over – at least when it comes to elephants. Now, a new online tool translates anything you say into elephant noises.
Hello in Elephant, the brainchild of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in collaboration with ElephantVoices, is an online translator that uses sound recordings and decades of research into elephant communication to translate common phrases into elephant noises.
To begin your message, you can either write a phrase, input an emoji (such as a heart emoji for "I love you"), or use a microphone to speak your message and get it translated directly.
The tool is currently capable of doing basic phrases such as "I love you" and "I’m hungry" – but do elephants have much more to say?
Hello in Elephant uses real sounds recorded from elephants in Kenya and accompanies it with a video of the gesture the elephants use when "saying" the phrase. For example, "hello" is a deep roar accompanied by the lifting and lowering of its trunk.
Once your message has been translated, you can then share the video to social media or send it to a friend to have your own elephant conversation.
The project exists to "raise awareness and drive donations for African elephants," and there are various ways to donate through the site, as well as information on the trusts that support the animals in the wild.
The African Elephant is currently listed by the IUCN Red List as vulnerable, meaning the species is at risk of becoming endangered if it declines further, although some populations have already reached that status. Tragically, elephants around the globe have been hunted for decades for their tusks, often sold in the illegal ivory trade and made into ornamental pieces or alternative medicines.
However, thanks to incredible efforts from field workers and the general public, elephant poaching appears to be in decline. While still a huge problem in African countries, African elephant populations now appear to be increasing.
Perhaps donations from Hello in Elephant can further research into elephant conservation until they are no longer at threat from humans.