Cynthia Moss, wildlife researcher and author

by | Jan 1, 2014

Cynthia Moss—the author and wildlife researcher who has spent more than 40 years studying the elephants of Amboseli National Park in Kenya (and speaking live from her tent in Amboseli!)—describes how she first became enchanted with elephants and decided to devote her life to studying them. In addressing how her feelings about elephants have shifted and evolved in 292the ensuing years, Moss notes that the priority at the moment is protecting them against the poaching epidemic that has surged dramatically as has the demand for ivory in China.  She also outlines some of the findings yielded by her Amboseli Elephant Research Project about the way elephant families form and function, and intersect with other families—Moss and her research associates have identified and recorded more than 1400 elephants belonging to 53 families. This rolled into a discussion of echo-moss-postmatriarchs, including the late, great Echo, whom Moss studied for over 30 years, has written about extensively, and has been spotlighted in documentary films and TV shows. (Echo died in 2009.)  Because the interview was—not coincidentally—conducted on the opening day of Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus’  Tampa engagement, she spends a few minutes pointing out the sharp contrasts between how elephants live in the wild and how they live in captivity.  She also shares some details of two colleagues’ fascinating study and attendant new paper on elephant cognition. (,


ALSO: We spoke briefly with Diane Koon, of Florida Voices For Animals, about the organization’s plans to protest—and educate—at each show of this week’s Tampa engagement of the Ringling Bros. circus, and what those protests seek to accomplish. (

COMEDY CORNER: Kevin Nealon’s “Cows On The Roof”      (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Tame Impala’s “Elephant,”  instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  King Crimson’s  “Elephant Talk”


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