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‘Droning noise from E Cape wind farms – bad news for Addo elephants’

“It’s certain that the noise from the turbines will be heard by the elephants of Addo,” says acoustic engineer Terry McKenzie-Hoy.

Visitors to the Eastern Cape will notice wind farms sprouting up all over, particularly around Qheberha (Port Elizabeth).

These wind farm turbines emit low-frequency noise, inaudible to humans, but potentially damaging for the elephants of the Addo Elephant Park.

Pippa Hudson interviewed acoustic engineer Terry McKenzie-Hoy about his study into the impact of wind turbine noise on elephants and their communication.

McKenzie-Hoy was commissioned to look into the phenomenon ahead of the expansion of the existing farm at Bayview, which will consist of 43 turbines taller than any building in Cape Town.

The Bayview windfarm will be five kilometres from Addo’s boundary, easily within audible range.

“Elephant sounds are very low frequency… They can hear up to 10 kilometres away… Elephant communication occurs at low frequencies… Rhinos, the same… It’s certain that the noise from the turbines will be heard by the elephants of Addo… Even motor vehicle engines can confuse elephants…”

“The wind farm people and the Department… don’t want to consider anything of this nature… It’s just left out!”

“I can’t name my client… an organisation that represents private game reserves… I’m not sure what happens next.”

—Terry McKenzie-Hoy, acoustic engineer

Listen to the interview in the audio below.