Work at a pan in Etosha, Namibia has found that seismic sensors can be used to differentiate between elephant, giraffe, lion, gemsbok and human footfalls. However, counting elephant numbers using the geophones was only 55 percent accurate.
The researchers are now attempting to make the military-designed sensors into an array to improve accuracy, reports Fiona Profitt of the BBC. The Stanford University researchers believe that the technique could be used to count forest elephants where aerial surveys do not work. However, other scientists are doubtful that the high-tech technique can be practically applied.