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SEPGuides: Science Education Partnership: Elephant Trunk

SEPGuides is the go-to place for all SEP kit protocols and activities, as well as the posting area for announcements and program updates. If something is missing or you have an idea to contribute, please e-mail us at

Elephant Trunk Contents

The Elephant Trunk contains supplementary materials that can be used for enriching classroom discussion about ivory, poaching, and conservation. The Elephant Trunk includes:

  • Elephant Project Curriculum Binder
  • simulated ivory artifacts
  • elephant tooth replica
  • African Map Poster
  • African Threatened Species Map
  • Periodic Table of Species Poster
  • NatGeo - Battle for the Elephants DVD
  • stamp set and elephant toy
  • books about African elephants and conservation
  • extra box of clear microtubes for lab

Elephant Photo Galleries

Research articles

Articles Relating to Conservation and Elephants


Who Dung It? (2002)

Who Dung It? is the original curriculum developed in 2002. The scenario starts at SEA-TAC Airport returning for HongKong. Someone close to you is being held by customs for an ivory piece found in their luggage. You have to find out if this ivory was illegally obtained.

ICCWC Agent Scenarios

These alternate scenarios were developed to address the current urgent context of elephant poaching. These scenarios emphasize the connection between illegal ivory and terrorist groups.

Useful Links

Web links to various sites concerning conservation.

Kit Description

The Elephant Trunk contains The Elephant Project curriculum and the supplementary resources to enrich The Elephant Project experience. This problem-based curriculum integrates Internet research, DNA analysis, and bioethical issues as students track down the origins of a piece of confiscated ivory. Students discover how modern biomolecular research tools can help conserve a species, in this case the African elephant.

SEP teachers and staff collaborated in developing this learning experience in 2000. Like most SEP kits, it offers a menu of options so that teachers can modify the materials and protocols to match their teaching situation. 

To learn more about the current status of African elephant populations and to understand the methods used by staff at the UW Center for Conservation Biology, use the links to current articles and web resources in the boxes below.



  • SEP Teachers must attend a training workshop to sign up for an Elephant Trunk.
  • The Elephant Trunk does NOT contain the DNA or the gel electrophoresis equipment necessary to teach The Elephant Project. SEP teachers should sign up for a Gel Electrophoresis kit or supplies in addition to an Elephant Trunk.

Ivory Cache (Updated Elephant Unit)



Elephant Poaching Youtube Playlists

Sam Wasser

Meet Trip Jennings as he helps Sam Wasser protect elephants.

Additional Web Resources

The SEP Elephant Trunk curriculum is based on the groundbreaking work of the University of Washington's Dr. Sam Wasser. Here are several links concerning his conservation work.

Conserving African Elephants

Roosevelt High School student Bonnie Henwood made this fantastic video, Conserving African Elephants, for the 2012 BioExpo.

Amazing photographs of elephants and people working to protect them

Links to maps