News > Google
Category: Google | Oct 7, 2015
For the last eight years, teams from around the world have been racing to win a global competition to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon successfully. It’s called the Google Lunar XPRIZE, and it’s been going on in labs and universities from Brazil to Japan to Carnegie Mellon. With 16 remaining teams of scientists, explorers and adventurers hard at work designing and fundraising, the race is on to be the first privately-funded moon landing (and to take home a share of the $30 million prize purse that comes with it).
This week, they all got a little bit closer. Team SpaceIL, a team of engineers based in Israel, has just managed to secure a “ticket to the moon”—in the form of an official, verified launch contract—for its spacecraft on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The spacecraft will hitch a ride in a specially designed capsule on the Falcon 9; once separated from the launcher and released from the capsule, it will use navigation sensors to guide it to the lunar surface. Here’s a first look at the craft that will be heading to the moon in 2017:
An artist’s rendering of SpaceIL’s newly-designed spacecraft
And this is where the real fun begins. We kicked off this challenge in 2007 to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in space through low-cost, efficient access to the moon. But until now, all the tinkering has been on terra firma. SpaceIL’s securing of a verified launch contract by the December 2015 deadline keeps the competition open to all Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, who now have until the end of 2016 to secure their own launch contracts to head to the moon by the end of 2017.
The moon is not only our nearest neighbor in space, but also the gateway to the rest of the universe—providing exciting opportunities for discovery, and giving the rest of us a chance to engage more with science, technology and innovation. We hear a lot about “moonshots” these days, but this is the real thing.
So, congratulations to SpaceIL for getting to this phase, and to the other 15 teams: the new space race is on! Just like the astronauts, explorers and moonwalkers who came before you, you’re pushing the limits of what’s possible—let’s see who will make history.
Posted by Yasemin Denari Southworth, Manager, Cultural Activation & Partnerships
Category: Google | Sep 29, 2015
From your watch to your phone to your TV, we want to help you stay connected, entertained and informed across all your screens. Today we’re introducing a few new things that do just that: two Nexus phones, a tablet for work and play, updates to Chromecast and features for some of your favorite apps—all working together to make your day a little bit easier and more fun.
New Nexus phones
We made Android to be an open platform that anyone can build on, and today there are 4,000+ Android devices in all shapes and sizes. Android’s diversity is why it’s become the most popular mobile platform in the world, and the latest version, Marshmallow, takes Android to a new level of performance.
While we love all the Android devices out there, every year we build Nexus devices to show off the latest and greatest, directly from the people who built Android. Today we’re introducing the latest Nexus treats, both running Marshmallow, sweetened by amazing apps and sandwiched by some cutting-edge hardware (see what we did there?):
- Nexus 6P is the first all-metal-body Nexus phone. Built in collaboration with Huawei, this 5.7” phone is crafted from aeronautical-grade aluminum, with a USB Type-C port for fast charging, a powerful 64-bit processor, and a 12.3 MP camera sensor with massive 1.55µm pixels (hello, better photos!). The Nexus 6P starts at $499.
- You’re not the only one who misses your Nexus 5. We’ve joined forces with LG to bring it back with the new Nexus 5X, which gives you great performance in a compact and light package, with a beautiful 5.2” screen and the same 12.3 MP camera and Type-C port as the Nexus 6P. Nexus 5X starts at $379.
Both phones include a new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which gives you quick and secure access to your phone, as well as use of Android Pay (in the U.S.). They are available for pre-order on the Google Store from a number of countries, including the U.S., U.K., Ireland and Japan, and come with a free 90-day subscription to Google Play Music. In the U.S., pre-orders include a $50 Play credit to help you stock up your favorite music, apps, games and shows. And, finally, for you Project Fi fans out there, you’ll be happy to know Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X will work on your favorite network. Request an invite to our Early Access Program at fi.google.com.
We’re expanding the Pixel family by introducing the first Android tablet built end-to-end by Google. The Pixel C brings together the benefits of a full-size keyboard with the portability of a tablet. The tablet and keyboard attach magnetically (no docking mechanism FTW), so it’s easy to switch between typing and using the touch screen.
And if you’re familiar with the Chromebook Pixel, you’ll immediately see the family resemblance: the Pixel C has the same beautiful aluminum design, great display and USB Type-C port. The Pixel C will be available in time for the holidays on the Google Store.
Cast ALL the things
Today we’re introducing two new Chromecast devices. The new Chromecast has a fresh design, and is easier to plug into TVs with crowded ports. It supports the latest Wi-Fi standards and adapts more easily to changing Wi-Fi conditions in your home, so you get higher quality video with less buffering. Most importantly, we added two new colors. ;)
Chromecast Audio is a small device that plugs into your existing speakers, so you can stream your favorite music, radio and podcasts over Wi-Fi, similar to Chromecast. It works with tons of apps, including Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music. Just like Chromecast, it works from anywhere in your home with your favorite devices, including Android, iOS, and laptops. And it’s available on the Google Store and other online retailers for just $35—way less than most Wi-Fi speakers today.
We’ve also updated the Chromecast app to make it easier for you to find great things to watch or to play, across the thousands of apps that work with Chromecast—whether you feel like browsing or want to search for a specific TV show or movie. For Cast-enabled apps that aren’t already on your phone, we’ll suggest one for you. The updated Chromecast app is rolling out on Android and iOS over the next few weeks.
Your favorite apps… for the whole family
All your shiny devices get even better when you have great apps to go with them. So we’re making a few updates to Google Play Music and Google Photos.
First, Google Play Music will offer a new family plan later this year. Up to six people will be able to use one account for a shared fee of $14.99 a month (instead of $9.99 per person). Get the dance party ready.
Sharing is a theme of today’s Google Photos updates, too. We’re adding Chromecast support to give you that old-school slideshow experience—dimmed lights optional. In the U.S., you can now add private labels to your photos to make it easier to search for specific pics of people with things, places or other people—say, that photo of Mom at the Grand Canyon, or of your daughter with her pet bunny. And soon you’ll be able to pool all your photos and videos with friends and family in one place, and get updates as soon as new photos are added. Best of all, there’s no setup involved, and you can use any device. So that dance party we mentioned earlier? Now it’s easier to gather all the memories from everyone who was there.
More to love, for more people
From Nexus to Chromecast to Pixel C to Photos, these updates are more than the sum of their parts—they unite great apps with devices that are designed to support them. They’re built to work together, so they do—seamlessly, across all your screens.
Posted by Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP Android, Chromecast and Chrome OS at Google
Category: Google | Sep 29, 2015
Converting a liquor store into a community-based learning and tutoring center. Providing millions of dollars of 0% interest loans to small businesses. Breaking the poverty- to-prison cycle by building a residential alternative to prison for young adults. This is just a sampling of the big ideas that local nonprofits submitted for our second annual Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area.
Today, after reviewing hundreds of submissions, we’re unveiling 10 finalists chosen together with our panel of advisors—a group that includes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Editor-in-Chief Audrey Cooper, The Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes, The San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence, and CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, Fred Blackwell.
Representing San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Clara, San Mateo and more, these organizations span the Bay Area. Learn more about these groups and their ideas for change:
This year, finding and funding new ideas will be just one part of the Google Impact Challenge: Bay Area. We are also reinvesting in a few of our 2014 finalists. The Ella Baker Center, Beyond12, Lava Mae, and Bay Area Community Resources in collaboration with Instituto Familiar de la Raza all were funded last year, and will receive between $250,000 and $1,000,000 in additional funding this year. We’re very pleased to continue supporting organizations focused on homelessness, youth employment, and racial justice—big problems that Google.org works to tackle with local organizations, year-round.
What happens next is in your hands! Anyone can vote for the new projects they think will have the most impact on the Bay Area. Again, the top four will receive $500,000 in grant funding, the remaining six will get $250,000 each. 15 additional organizations will each receive $100,000 and all nonprofits will be connected with Googler volunteers and coworking space in San Francisco. We’ll announce winners on October 21.
To vote, visit g.co/bayareachallenge or check out one of our voting stations across the Bay Area.
When creative, socially-conscious minds and the Bay Area’s innovative spirit join forces, big things can happen. Congratulations to all finalists, and best of luck the rest of the way!
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Alphabet
Category: Google | Sep 28, 2015
At the Bronx Latin School in New York City, teacher Katrina Roman says the topic of ancient history doesn’t usually set students abuzz. But this week, they took a field trip to ancient Aztec ruins using Google Expeditions, a virtual reality teaching tool built with Google Cardboard. Normally, their assignment would involve poring over photocopied photographs, but instead, they stood at the top of Chichen Itza, then examined detailed carvings at Tenochtitlan. Amid “oohs” and “aahhs,” the students shouted out details they noticed and shot hands up to answer Ms. Roman’s questions.
Starting today, we’re bringing this experience to thousands of schools around the world with the new Expeditions Pioneer Program. During the 2015/2016 school year, we’ll be bringing “kits” containing everything a teacher needs to run a virtual trip for their class: ASUS smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows Expeditions to run without an Internet connection, and Google Cardboard viewers or Mattel View-Masters that turn phones into virtual reality headsets. Although nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, there are some places that are just out of reach (hello, Chichen Itza!). Virtual reality gives teachers a tool to take students places a school bus can’t.
To help teachers learn how to use Expeditions, we’ll be visiting thousands of schools around the world and bringing the kit for teachers to use in their classes for the day. Up first: Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., followed by more locations as the school year progresses. At each school, our team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.
Right now, teachers can choose from a library of 100+ virtual trips to places like Mars, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China. But we’re constantly adding more trips with the help of partners like PBS, educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, British documentarian David Attenborough and his production company Alchemy VR, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. We’re also working with the Starfish Foundation to help students explore future careers by showing them a virtual day in the life of professionals including a veterinarian and computer scientist. And to help students achieve those career goals, we’re working with First Lady Michelle Obama to support her Reach Higher initiative by taking students on virtual college tours.
And if you see one of these cars on the road, that’s us! The folks at Subaru, who invest in education as part of their Love Promise initiative, have created a fleet of Expedition Pioneer Program rides that we’ll be using to bring kits to schools.
If visiting Mars, trekking on the Great Wall of China or exploring what it’s like to work at a veterinarian’s office sounds like something your class would be interested in, head to the Expeditions Pioneer Program site and sign up.
Posted by David Quaid, Software Engineer, Google Expeditions
Category: Google | Sep 27, 2015
When I was a student, I relished the day-long railway journey
I would make from Chennai Central station (then known as Madras Central) to IIT Kharagpur
. I vividly remember the frenetic energy at the various stations along the way and marveled at the incredible scale and scope of Indian Railways
|Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Googleplex today
I’m very proud to announce that it’s the train stations of India that are going to help get millions of people online. In the past year, 100 million people in India started using the Internet for the first time. This means there are now more Internet users in India than in every country in the world aside from China. But what’s really astounding is the fact that there are still nearly one billion people in India who aren’t online.
We’d like to help get these next billion Indians online—so they can access the entire web, and all of its information and opportunity. And not just with any old connection—with fast broadband so they can experience the best of the web. That’s why, today, on the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to our U.S. headquarters, and in line with his Digital India initiative, we announced a new project to provide high-speed public Wi-Fi in 400 train stations across India.
Working with Indian Railways, which operates one of the world’s largest railway networks, and RailTel, which provides Internet services as RailWire via its extensive fiber network along many of these railway lines, our Access & Energy team plans to bring the first stations online in the coming months. The network will expand quickly to cover 100 of the busiest stations in India before the end of 2016, with the remaining stations following in quick succession.
Even with just the first 100 stations online, this project will make Wi-Fi available for the more than 10 million people who pass through every day. This will rank it as the largest public Wi-Fi project in India, and among the largest in the world, by number of potential users. It will also be fast—many times faster than what most people in India have access to today, allowing travelers to stream a high definition video while they’re waiting, research their destination, or download some videos, a book or a new game for the journey ahead. Best of all, the service will be free to start, with the long-term goal of making it self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and other places, with RailTel and more partners, in the future.
|This map shows the first 100 stations that will have high-speed Wi-Fi by the end of 2016
We think this is an important part of making the Internet both accessible and useful for the more than 300 million Indians already online, and the nearly one billion more who are not.
But it’s not the only piece. To help more Indians get access to affordable, high-quality smartphones, which is the primary way most people there access the Internet, we launched Android One last year. To help address the challenges of limited bandwidth, we recently launched a feature that makes mobile webpages load faster and with less data, and we’ve made YouTube available offline with offline Maps coming soon.
To help make web content more useful for Indians, many of whom don’t speak English, we launched the Indian Language Internet Alliance last year to foster more local language content, and have built greater local language support into our products—including Hindi Voice Search, an improved Hindi keyboard and support for seven Indian languages with the latest versions of Android. And finally, to help all Indians reap the benefits of connectivity, we’ve been ramping up efforts to help women, who make up just a third of Internet users in India today, get the most from the web.
Just like I did years ago, thousands of young Indians walk through Chennai Central every day, eager to learn, to explore and to seek opportunity. It’s my hope that this Wi-Fi project will make all these things a little easier.
Posted by Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
Category: Google | Sep 25, 2015
Even if you weren’t trying to keep up with all your fall shows returning, this week was a busy one. Here’s a look at what captured our attention the past seven days—from the Pope to a little rat with a big dream.
Also, we’re changing up this series, so this will be our last regular Friday post for a while. We’ll be back soon in a different format. Until then, keep on searchin’ on.
Pizza rat is all of us
Let’s start with the important stuff. This week the Internet was captivated by a YouTube video showing a rat carrying a slice of pizza down the stairs of a New York subway station. There were more than 50K+ searches for “Pizza Rat” on Monday, and the 14 second-video has more than 6 million views at last count. But while #PizzaRat memes multiplied across the web, New Yorkers had some more unsettling questions in mind, like: “How many rats are in New York?” and “What is the rat to people ratio in New York?” (Are you sure you want to know?) Whether Pizza Rat is a hero or a quitter, something about him spoke to us. Because in a way, aren’t we all just rats trying to find a slice of pizza in the subway station of life?
Hello, Pope Francis
This week Pope Francis became the fourth pope to visit the United States, in a highly anticipated tour that took him from D.C. to New York, with a Philadelphia stop still to come. Every day of his visit has brought headlines and curious searches (more than 500K on Tuesday)—and he’s been busy. He met with President Obama (and the President’s dogs) at the White House, stopped by the Capitol to give a joint address to Congress (the first time a pontiff has ever done so), canonized Junipero Serra, visited the 9/11 Memorial, spoke at the United Nations and made statements on everything ranging from climate change to the refugee crisis.
Meanwhile, people have been asking all sorts of questions about the Pope and his visit. Perhaps the most interesting—and inspiring—searches about the Pope’s visit are those looking for information on what he has said. Notably, people wanted to learn more about Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day, whom the Pope described in his joint address to Congress as Americans who had “built a better future” through “hard work and self-sacrifice” (the other two Americans he mentioned? Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.). In fact, searches for Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement and an advocate for social justice, spiked 1700x after the Pope discussed her in his speech.
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over
This week baseball fans and others said farewell to Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, who died at age 90. A Hall of Famer who appeared in 21 World Series as a player, coach and manager, Yogi was perhaps best known for his nonsensical, sometimes koan-like statements (some of which it’s disputed he actually made, but all of which you’ve probably said without even knowing their origin), and as the namesake for the cartoon bear. As news spread of his death, people searched for him more than 1M times, asking “What number was Yogi Berra?” and “How did Yogi Berra get the name Yogi?” (It’s a good story.)
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [pontifex] and [postpositive adjective]
Category: Google | Sep 22, 2015
Mariette DiChristina is the Editor in Chief and senior vice president of Scientific American—the first woman to hold the role in the magazine’s 170-year history. She has been a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2011 and served as president of the National Association of Science Writers in 2009 and 2010. She joins us here today to share her perspective on the Google Science Fair, which is in its fifth edition this year. -Ed.
This marks my fifth year with the Google Science Fair. In October 2010, when I had my first conversations with my friends at Google about their idea to create a global online science fair that any kid 13–18 could participate in, I thought it sounded pretty cool. But I couldn’t then imagine just how inspiring and powerful such a competition would turn out to be in reality.
At the time, I hadn’t even been editor in chief of Scientific American for a year, but I had real ambitions to try to do something to make a difference in educating our young people about science. You see, I believe that science is the engine of human prosperity—it’s the way we grapple with some of the world’s most challenging problems, from cures for diseases to living sustainably in a finite world. So I’ve always seen the idea of fostering evidence-based thinking in our next generation of global citizens as vital.
Now, five years later and working with partners LEGO Education, National Geographic and Virgin Galactic, the Google Science Fair has an impressive track record of enabling our world’s young scientists to shine. Over the years, they’ve tackled serious issues, like world hunger and the energy crisis. Their projects have worked on how to diagnose and treat diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. They’ve engineered flashlights powered by their hands and plastics made of banana peels. And to date, the fair has provided almost $1 million in scholarships, and sent four grand prize winners on trips around the world to further their scientific passions.
Tonight we added some new winners to that list as we recognized and celebrated the 2015 top 20 finalist projects and the bright young scientists behind them:
- The Grand Prize went to Olivia Hallisey for creating a novel way to detect Ebola.
- Girish Kumar won the Google Technologist Award for helping improve learning through auto-generated study questions.
- The National Geographic Explorer Award went to Deepika Kurup for her idea to use solar-powered silver to create clean drinking water.
- Krtin Nithiyanadam’s project focused on improved diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and won him the Scientific American Innovator Award.
- Pranav Sivakumar‘s automated search for gravitationally lensed quasars earned him the Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award.
- And Anurudh Ganesan took home The LEGO Education Builder Award for his unique twist on effectively transporting vaccines.
If you didn’t get to tune in, you can still watch the Awards Show live stream and check out the complete list of impressive finalists and winners, including our first ever Inspiring Educator, Aydan Meydan from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In all of these finalists and the thousands of submissions from students in 100+ countries, we see something common. These students are inventive, thoughtful, and determined to help make the world a better place. All they need is a chance and a platform to do so. And, unlike some of us adults, they are ready to try things that other people think are “impossible.” I find them inspiring.
It’s imperative for us to support and encourage our young people to explore and challenge the world around them through scientific discovery. So we’re especially glad that Ahmed Mohamed—the 14-year-old clock maker from Texas—took us up on our invite to attend this year’s event. Curious young scientists, inventors and builders like him should be encouraged and empowered.
The past decades have brought tremendous innovations and challenges, and none of us knows what the future of scientific discovery holds. But I can tell you one thing: it’s going to be better thanks to these kids. They will be part of building a brighter future for us all—and as they do, those of us at Scientific American, Google, LEGO Education, National Geographic and Virgin Galactic will be cheering them on.
So start thinking of your ideas for next year! We can’t wait to see what you’ll try next.
Posted by Mariette DiChristina, Editor in Chief of Scientific American and Chief Judge of the Google Science Fair
Category: Google | Sep 18, 2015
Another week flown by—sometimes the pace is enough to make you need a dislike button. Here’s a look at the past seven days as seen through Google Search:
A 14-year-old teenager named Ahmed Mohamed found himself in the spotlight this week, with searches for his name soaring above 500K. Mohamed, who lives in Texas and is Muslim, was arrested on Monday after he brought a clock that he’d made himself to school and it was mistaken for a bomb. In the days that followed, thousands of people expressed their support for Mohamed online with the hashtag #IStandwithAhmed, and he received invitations to visit the White House, MIT, Facebook—and yes, even Google. As more and more people heard about the story, they turned to search with questions like “What did Ahmed’s clock look like?” and “What was Obama’s response to Ahmed’s clock?”
California has been battling brutal wildfires this year, as the drought has dried up fields and forests across the state. Last week’s Butte Fire threatened thousands of acres and burned hundreds of homes, and it seemed like as soon as it was contained the Valley Fire in Lake County was blazing. Searchers turned to the web with questions like “How does a wildfire create its own weather?” and “Why are the wildfires getting worse?” But while firefighters worked around the clock up north to stop the inferno, southern California was breaking records for rainfall. Really. Tuesday was the second-wettest day in L.A. in September since 1877, with 50,000+ searches for [weather Los Angeles] as astonished Angelenos looked to learn more about this unfamiliar wet stuff falling from the sky.
Mother Nature wasn’t through with her surprises, though. Wednesday, an 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile, forcing 1 million people to evacuate—and causing 2 million searches for [Chile earthquake]. Tsunami warnings were in effect as far away as California, Japan and New Zealand. Despite some casualties and billions of dollars’ worth of damages, experts say that Chile’s investments in structural reinforcements and other earthquake preparedness prevented the disaster from being much worse.
The Republican presidential debate was the subject of more than 5 million searches this week as people looked for more about the candidates and issues. While Donald Trump was the most searched candidate both overall and in nearly every state, he had some competition from former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Fiorina drew attention for her performance in the debate, in particular her opposition to Planned Parenthood (the subject of more than 200K searches this week) and her reaction to comments Trump had made about her in the press. Taking Trump to task for past comments was a theme on Wednesday; in fact, the top searched moment of the night was when Jeb Bush asked Trump for an apology to his wife.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [drywall anchors] and [pine state biscuits]
Category: Google | Sep 15, 2015
My name is Rita Masoud and I am a refugee. I was born in war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan. When I was seven, my family and I fled to Europe with our belongings in a single suitcase, hoping for a safer and better future. Our journey involved many dark train and bus rides, as well as hunger, thirst, cold and fear. Fortunately, we received asylum in The Netherlands, where I grew up in a safe environment and was able to find my way in life. Today, I work for Google in California.
I was lucky. But as the refugee and migrant crisis has grown, many people like my family are desperate for help. Last week, Google announced a €1 million (~$1.1 million) donation to organizations who are providing front-line humanitarian relief to refugees and migrants around the world. Today, we’re inviting you to join us. To double the impact of your contribution, we’ll match the first €5 million (~$5.5 million) in donations globally, until together we raise €10 million (~$11 million) for relief efforts.
Your donation will be distributed to four nonprofits providing aid to refugees and migrants: Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and UN High Commissioner for Refugees. These nonprofits are helping deliver essential assistance—including shelter, food and water, and medical care—and looking after the security and rights of people in need.
Visit google.com/refugeerelief to make your donation. Thank you for giving.
En route with a train from Afghanistan, with my family and some belongings. You can read more about my journey on my blog.
Posted by Rita Masoud, Product Marketing Manager, Google.org
Category: Google | Sep 15, 2015
Today for the first time, we’re releasing Street View imagery of Kenya—including the Samburu National Reserve, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust—in partnership with Save the Elephants and with the support of the Samburu County Government. We’ll let Save the Elephants’ David Daballen take it from here. -Ed.
It’s a wild life at the Save the Elephants research camp in Samburu, in the heart of northern Kenya’s wilderness. For the last 15 years at Save the Elephants, I’ve spent my days among the elephants, working alongside my fellow Samburu people to study and protect them. Research shows that 100,000 elephants across Africa were killed for their ivory between 2010-2012, but thanks to our work in the Samburu National Reserve their numbers are now slowly increasing. Today, a visit to Samburu is a chance not only to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, but also discover a uniquely beautiful landscape where people’s lives are interwoven with the landscape’s wildlife. It’s my honour to invite you on a journey to my homeland with Street View in Google Maps.
Every time I drive into the Reserve, I can see the trust on the elephants’ faces and feel a warm welcome. When I’m out and about, I never know which of my fellow citizens I’ll bump into next. It could be some of the 600+ elephants I can recognize—like the Hardwood family—frolicking together, a group of Samburu warriors walking along the Ewaso Nyiro River, a pride of lions enjoying a bit of shade, or a leopard crossing the path. While you make your journey through Street View, you may be surprised what awaits.
South of Samburu, up into the hills of Kenya, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy awaits exploration. In this greener landscape, you can cross the open savannah, where animals like zebras and rhinoceroses live protected from poachers and hunters. Every day, the Lewa radio command center plots the movements of elephants (and other GPS-collared wildlife) onto Google Earth to help rangers determine where elephants are and when they might be in danger. If an elephant’s GPS collar sends an alert to indicate the elephant has stopped moving, a team of rangers and tracking dogs will investigate. Save the Elephants was one of the first organizations to use this technology, having collared 266 elephants across Africa since 1998.
Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can see the devastating effect of poaching and other causes of elephant deaths in Kenya. Founded in 1977, the Trust provides lifesaving assistance to wild animals in need, including orphaned elephants and rhinos. At their Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, elephant caretakers stand in for an elephant’s lost family, providing 24/7 care and specially formulated milk. As the orphans grow, they are gradually reintegrated back into the wild, where they are protected by the charity’s Anti-Poaching and Aerial Surveillance Teams. To date, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has hand-raised more than 180 orphaned infant elephants, including little Sokotei, who I helped to rescue in Samburu after his mother died of natural causes when he was six months old. He’s just one elephant amid thousands that have been lost across the continent, but when you’re up against a challenge of this scale, every elephant counts.
I hope this glimpse into life in Samburu has inspired you to learn more about elephants’ plight and how you can help. Samburu is my home and is full of life. To ensure it remains that way, please consider supporting the research of Save the Elephants, making a donation to the anti-poaching efforts of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, or fostering an orphaned elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. After exploring in Street View, come and see us here in Kenya in person—we’d love to have you!
Posted by David Daballen, Head of Field Operations at Save the Elephants