An Elephant's Life Cover

The Elephant’s Secret Sense:
The hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa

(Free Press, 2011)

While observing a family of elephants in the wild, Caitlin O’Connell noticed a peculiar listening behavior — the matriarch lifted her foot and scanned the horizon, causing the other elephants to follow suit, as if they could “hear” the ground. The Elephant’s Secret Sense is O’Connell’s account of her groundbreaking research into seismic listening and communication, chronicling the extraordinary social lives of elephants over the course of fourteen years in the Namibian wilderness.

This compelling odyssey of scientific discovery is also a frank account of fieldwork in a poverty-stricken, war-ravaged country. In her attempts to study an elephant community, O’Connell encounters corrupt government bureaucrats, deadly lions and rhinos, poachers, farmers fighting for arable land, and profoundly ineffective approaches to wildlife conservation. The Elephant’s Secret Sense is ultimately a story of intellectual courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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Praise for The Elephant’s Secret Sense:

". . . a successful combination of science and soulfulness." - Publishers Weekly

"…A riveting account of scientific discovery. . . . [A]n addictive narrative." - Booklist

"A compelling memoir..." - Boston Globe

"…a ride as rough and astonishing as the roads of the African floodplain." - Entertainment Weekly

"…a high-class nature documentary film in prose." - The Guardian