About This Journal

Publication History and Masthead

Elephant, the official scholarly organ of the Elephant Interest Group (EIG), was published at intervals between July 1977 and 2000. The group later changed their name to Elephant Research Foundation (ERF). Jeheskel (Hezy) Shoshani was the sole editor for the majority of its run. Originally Elephant was published by Wayne State University Biology Department; for the final issue EIG was incorporated into ERF, and ERF took over publication.

The masthead remained the same throughout the journal’s publication run, and began with an extended history of Ahmed, Hezy Shoshani's muse and mascot:

“Ahmed, Kenya's most celebrated elephant, was and still is regarded as a national monument. In his time, he had the largest tusks of any known elephant. Each one of his tusks weighed about 148 lbs., approximately 67 kilograms. (Average tusk weight is about 70 lbs. and 100 lbs. is considered large). A world-wide protest to save Ahmed’s life was ignited by a report that two American hunters were after his huge ivory. This protest included more than 5,000 letters and cards delivered to the East African Wild Life Society. Thereafter, Ahmed was totally protected from human harassment:

  1. by the mere fact that he was in a protected park - Marsabit.
  2. by a Decree from the president of Kenya, Mz.ee Jomo Kenyata.
  3. by daily monitoring his movements - a task performed by two askaris (soldiers).
  4. by "the close proximity of two younger bulls - elephant askaris."

This last statement is a thought or perhaps a legend rather than an observation.

In the Presidential Decree, Jomo Kenyata described Ahmed as "...this individual animal which captures the imagination and concern of all mankind." It was further stated in the Decree that "...under no circumstances may be (Ahmed) hunted or harassed by anyone."

Early in 1974 Ahmed died at about 55 years old (average lifespan is equal to that of man). The death was "natural", i.e., he was not the victim of the murderous "Ivory Rush" as it was initially feared. Presently, Ahmed is preserved in the National Museum of Nairobi, Kenya - the great elephant remains the symbol of conservation for this and future generations.”

(The official masthead went through two iterations, under both the EIG and the ERF. These are merged below:)

Elephant is the official publication of the Elephant Interest Group (EIG)/Elephant Research Foundation (ERF), an international non-profit organization established in June 1977, to promote interest in elephants. In addition, the EIG collects and disseminates information needed for education, research and conservation of elephants. The EIG is associated with the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)/Elephant Specialist Groups, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Department of biological Sciences at Wayne State University. Pertinent articles, information and news are contributed, free, by our readers. Financial support is provided via contributions from individuals and institutions worldwide. Elephant is distributed by the Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 48202 USA. (in the ERF era, Elephant was "distributed from its home base in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA."

The first two issues of Volume 1 were entitled Elephant Newsletter. Subsequently, the word “newsletter” was dropped from the title, and the publication was known simply as Elephant.

About Hezy Shoshani

Jeheskel "Hezy" Shoshani became interested in elephants after reading Burma Boy by Willis Lindquist. His primary research was the evolutionary biology of elephants, their anatomy and physiology, and how to apply this knowledge to our understanding of elephant behavior and ecology. He taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan USA, for approximately 25 years.

In 1977 he established the Elephant Research Foundation (an international nonprofit organization) and was the editor of its publication, Elephant. Hezy published about 200 scientific and some popular articles and was the editor of two books on elephants and their relatives: a popular book,Elephants: Majestic Creatures of the Wild (2000, Checkmark Books, New York) and a technical volume (with Pascal Tassy), The Proboscidea: Evolution and Palaeoecology of Elephants and Their Relatives (1996, Oxford University Press, England).

From 1998 to 2006 he taught at the University of Asmara, Eritrea, and conducted research on mammals in general and elephants in particular, funded by the Born Free Foundation in the UK. In January 2003, on an expedition to search for elephants, Hezy almost lost his life when one of his beloved research subjects charged him. Fortunately, he escaped with only minor injuries. In 2007, he relocated to Ethiopia. He taught biology at Addis Abab University and studied the same population of elephants. They crossed the border from Eritrea seasonally.

Hezy was the prime mover in creating the Elephant Research Foundation Library and in the decision in 2002 to move that collection to the Wayne State University Libraries. Sadly, Hezy died on May 21, 2008, as a result of terrorist bombing of a public minibus in Addis Ababa. His work in Ethiopia on the northern elephants is being carried on by his colleagues, and the Elephant Research Foundation continues to manage the move of the collection to WSULS. The board of Directors of the ERF decided to rename the library as a tribute to the lifelong efforts of Hezy Shoshani.