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Video Moment : Elephants Sniffing Out 10 Million Landmines from The Long Walk Home BBC Earth Part 3

“Using their elephant sense of smell to detect ten million unexploded landmines to make their way home to Angola.”  Watch as elephants periscope their trunks while they swim across the Chobe River enroute to their native land. The following is transcribed from  Elephants Sniffing Out 10 Million Landmines | The Long Walk Home | BBC Earth


“Tragically as many as a hundred thousand of Angola’s elephants have been shot for their ivory, to help fund the war or for their meat to feed their troops.”

(elephant rumbles as herd walks amongst the trees)

“Most of the elephants that weren’t killed fled to the safety of Botswana. But the memory of the Angolan wilderness lives on in the minds of the older elephant refugees and there are signs that some of them are trying to return home.

“The great irony is that 30 years of war has actually preserved the Angolan wilderness simply because it has been too dangerous for people to move back.”


“Landmine fields like this are all over the place. There are an estimated 10 million unexploded landmines in this magnificent wilderness.”

(elephants shown walking along a path with land mine danger signs all around then Mike crouching in front of one of the skull and crossbones signs himself)

“I believe elephants can smell landmines like rats and dogs that are used to help demine areas, that elephants have a very powerful sense of smell. So, my hunch is and and  and early evidence suggests that elephants can detect landmines.”

(elephants rumble as they appear out of the forested area)

“The Matriarchs that used to roam freely in this part of Angola inherently will remember it. A lot of the pathways have lay dormant and now that the war has ended there is a perfect opportunity for elephants to return back to southeast Angola, return home. Home is where the heart is.

We need to safeguard these new migration corridors that elephants are using to return home to Angola to help secure a future for elephants.”

(elephants walking amongst the trees)


Image: CC Flickr by jurvetson similar Bull elephant closeup; some say elephants can detect landmines in Angola



” Mike knows that given half a chance more and more elephants will try to get back there. But it is crucial to protect their migration routes now before rapid development in Angola blocks their route home.”

(elephants rumbling and walking on the river bank littered with logs, downed trees)

“The Chobe River runs along one of Botswana’s international boundaries. For the first time in decades elephants from the Botswana side have begun to use the river as a crossing point again heading for Angola.”

(elephants walk into the Chobe River and swim in a closely knit line as they periscope their trunks & trumpet happily before coming out onto the river banks on the other side)


“If Mike can continue to work with the regional governments then he can help protect these corridors and ensure the elephants’ safe passage. But to do that Mike first needs to clearly identify where their old cross-border migration routes go.”

(elephants safely across the river now begin “the long walk home”)


Watch BBC Earth YouTube video: “Elephants Sniffing Out 10 Million Landmines

See also: Video Moment : Exhausted Baby Elephant Struggles To Survive The Long Walk Home BBC Earth Part 4


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Image: CC Flickr by jurvetson similar Bull elephant close-up synopsis landmines Angola



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  1. Pingback: Video Moment : Elephants Under Threat of A Cull from The Long Walk Home BBC Earth Part 2 | Elephant Spoken Here

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