How Humans Benefit From a Highway of Trails Created by African Forest Elephants
The paths the pachyderms make aid plants, other animals, and local people—whose way of life is threatened by the species’ decline
For decades, Jost Robinson and Melissa Remis, a professor and head of the anthropology department at Purdue University, have traveled to this Dzanga-Sangha and followed the intricate elephant trails to study the behaviors of western lowland gorillas and small antelopes called duikers. But for many years, they never stopped to look at the trails themselves. “When you’re doing research it’s easy to forget what you’re moving through,” says Jost Robinson. In 2012, they decided to study the paths that gave them easy access to water, campsites and data. It was then that they fully recognized the significance of this complex networks of trails.