S2 Episode 6: Charles Foley


Jon finally gets the chance to interview his co-host Charles Foley. Charles shares adventures from a life spent working with African Elephants in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park with his wife Lara. His thirty years of research has generated many advances in our understanding of Elephants, including the long-term impact that poaching can have when it kills all of the older animals in a family. Elephants do indeed have long memories, and so remembering where water can be found might be critical to a family’s survival during drought. Charles also explains why it is a good idea to check the tyres on the truck if you plan to propose at sunset in the African bush. And – if you do forget – why it might then be a good idea to check only after your partner says ‘yes’.


This is a summary of Charles’s research on elephant memory and survival during drought. Two of the Foley’s Big Mammal Day reports are here and here. You can buy  Charles’ and Lara’s Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Tanzania. And here is a report of Charles and Jon in Sierra Leone, and a short jubilant video taken seconds after we saw our Pygmy Hippo. Best day ever. Cover art: Fujo, Charles Foley.