Category Archives: Blog

Entries are invited for the Elephants Alive! Art Competition

Art-Eclect Studio in collaboration with The Art Square Studio Gallery at The Pumpkin House in Langebaan invite you to submit an artwork towards raising funds for a Collar Tracking Project in Hoedspruit.

The exhibition will be hosted in Langebaan at Pumpkin House with an Opening Night on Friday 22nd September 2017, accompanied with wine tasting.

The exhibition dates are 22 – 24 September 2017.


  • Closing date for confirmation of participation and Entry : Tuesday 1St August 2017
  • Entry fee: R100 per artwork submitted (nonrefundable)
  • Collection date of work not sold – Monday 25th September 2017

There are 2 cash prizes:

  • First Prize : R2000
  • Second Prize : R1000

Conditions of Entry:

  • All details of the artist and artwork entry must be submitted via email.
  • Once the registration process is complete a reference number will be given for each artwork entry.
  • The artwork must be delivered to The Art Square Studio Gallery at The Pumpkin House – 54 Park Drive, Myburgh Park in Langebaan by the 8th September 2017.
  • Curation takes place on the actual artwork and not the online submission.
  • Failure to deliver the artwork to The Pumpkin House will result in non-participation and no refund of entry fee.
  • No late entries will be accepted


Download Art Competition Registration Form

Registration forms can be sent to  by the 1st August 2017.

Theme – Elephants OR their Habitat

  • Elephants only – Not the Big Five
  • Fauna and Flora of the natural Habitat of the Elephant.

Terms & Conditions

How winners are selected:

All artists, those with formal training as well as self-taught artists, are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the competition.                                                                                             Three independent curators will be chosen for their particular field of expertise within the visual arts.

The criteria for the curating revolves around:

  • With regard to technical implementation it is important that the work of art reveal an expert handling of materials and techniques and are presented in such a way that inform the curators that the candidate was mindful of the work having to stand in its own right as an artwork
  • Simultaneously, the conceptual nature of the work is also about the artwork conveying a message that is accessible to the viewer
  • A freshness of vision implies that the artwork has to reflect something that is not imitation, but rather engages with new and honest ways of seeing within the context of the theme set.
  • The artist has shown a great consideration for the artwork’s ‘look’ in terms of visual quality representing the intended theme.
  • The panel of Curator’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Who may enter:

  • Local and Western Cape artists

Which works may be entered:

  • An entrant may enter ONE artwork only.
  • The artwork must have been completed in the last 24 months
  • Only an original artwork may be entered.
  • Entries in any medium will be accepted.
  • An artwork, excluding the frame, must not be smaller than A3.
  • Artwork must be of such a nature that they can easily be packed, transported and exhibited – if sent by courier.
  • All artwork entered must be for sale. The selling price must remain the same as the selling price reflected on the registration form – A gentle reminder of the cause we support when you price your work – please keep it sellable.

Preparation of works of Art:

  • Entrants shall ensure that the artwork is ready for exhibiting.
  • Artwork to be hanged must be properly framed with hooks and hanging wire already attached.
  • In order to avoid damage to the artwork, it is advisable that the entrants use Perspex covering as opposed to glass.
  • The artist’s name and title of the artwork must be clearly attached to the back
  • Competition organizers will not be under any obligation to return the artwork after the exhibition.

 Dispatch, copyright and sales:

  • The entrant is responsible, both practically and financially, for packaging, insuring of the artwork submitted, dispatching to and from Langebaan to The Pumpkin House for preliminary selection.
  • Art-Eclect Studio, Elephants Alive and The Pumpkin House reserves the right to reproduce artworks that are entered, without compensation to the entrants, for the advertising of the exhibition and the benefits of the ‘’Cause’’.
  • Should any artwork be selected for the final exhibition, the entrant shall not be allowed to withdraw any of the artwork selected for any reason whatsoever.
  • All artworks are to be for sale.
  • Please bear in mind that 30% of the selling price will go towards  ‘’Elephants Alive’’:
  • The winning and 13 merit artworks selected will be exhibited in the main Gallery on a silent auction, with opening bid as price indicated.
  • Remaining Artworks will also be presented for sale.

Risk, damage and/or loss:

  • The organizers in no way accept any responsibility or liability for loss of and/or damage to an artwork.
  • Entrants assume all responsibility for arrangements with the organizers for the collection of the work after the exhibition.

Enquiries, Collection Point & Contact Details     

  • Hanli – The Art Square Studio Gallery at The Pumpkin House: Location for delivery and collection of Artwork – 54 Park Drive, Myburgh Park, Langebaan, 7357
  • Karen – Art Eclect Studio : Coordinator for ‘Elephants Alive’ and Registration of artwork –

We are looking forward to your participation…Enjoy, enthuse and inspire!



Bees, Trees and Elephants – Success!

Elephants are considered to cause unacceptable levels of damage to certain large trees in some conservation areas. This damage exacerbates human: elephant conflict, with some calling for elephants to be culled to reduce tree damage.

Elephants Alive have been studying the impact of elephants on large trees since 2004, and looking at mitigation methods which could be used to increase the survival rate of large trees. This includes wrapping chicken wire around the trunk to prevent bark-stripping by elephants. Over 3000 trees are being monitored for elephant impact, with half of them being protected from elephant effects in this way.

In 2015 Elephants Alive embarked on a unique project to use bees to protect iconic trees from elephant damage within the Private Reserves. It is known that elephants do not like bees, and beehive fences have been successfully used in East Africa to protect farmers’ crops.  So Elephants Alive have pioneered innovative research, using beehives suspended in a number of iconic marula trees.

MSc student, Robin Cook, has been testing how effective bees are at protecting iconic trees, compared to wire-net protection. The study site for the project is Jejane Private Nature Reserve which is part of the Associated Private Nature Reserves on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park.

115 beehives were made by the Elephants Alive team. Fifteen of these hives have been kept at the Elephant Research station at Mica for close monitoring and honey production.

A total of 50 occupied hives and 50 dummy hives (no bees, just an empty hive) have been hung at the study site on marked marula trees.

The results indicate the following:

  • 54% of the control trees, with no protection, suffered from elephant impact which varied from bark stripping to branch breakage.
  • 28% of the wire-netted trees received no bark-stripping but either had primary or secondary branches broken.
  • Only 2% of the beehive trees were impacted by elephant with the tree itself left untouched. One of the dummy (inactive hives) was ripped from the tree by an elephant bull predicted to be in musth.

Overall beehives proved significantly effective at preventing elephants from impacting marula trees in any form, although the presence of beehives in marula trees did not prevent elephants from moving through the beehive site.

This research was conducted during an extreme drought.  Sugar water feeding stations had to be provided, and a number of the hives were vacated by the bees or the colonies died, perhaps due to extreme temperatures and/or lack of food.

Following on from this success, Elephants Alive plan to upgrade the hives, subject to funding – replacing them with superior “Beepak” hives.  These hives better protect the bee colonies from adverse conditions, and permit the commercial production of honey. Harvesting the honey will upskill members of the local community, provide an alternative livelihood and increase food security.
At the same time, human: elephant conflict is reduced, as the elephants avoid damaging the marula trees with the hives.

A win: win solution for elephants, large trees, landowners and the local community!


Dung and Rumbles – a day in the life of an Elephants Alive researcher

By Harriet Nimmo

Trying to stuff a large, steaming lump of elephant dung into a small glass test tube was not quite what I’d expected, when I spent a day in the field with the Elephants Alive research team.

The dung samples are preserved in saline, and the tubes taken back to the UK for analysis by one of Elephants Alive’s collaborators, Dr. Hannah Mumby from Cambridge University. One can just imagine the Customs Officer asking “anything to declare?” on arrival at Heathrow!

For 20 years, the inspirational Elephants Alive organisation has been monitoring the social structure and movements of one of southern Africa’s largest continuous elephant populations. They have collared more than 60 elephants in over 100 collaring operations throughout the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, and have developed an individual elephant identification database of nearly 2000 elephants in the Greater Kruger Area. Their long term research is providing fundamental information for elephant management and protection; it is informing SANParks, conservation bodies and landowners on seasonal movements, sustainability of trophy hunting, impact on vegetation– and sadly now is also identifying poaching hotspots.

We know much less about male elephants than females, yet males could be more at risk from being involved in human-elephant conflicts such as crop raiding, and of course big bulls are top of the trophy hunters’ hit list. So Elephants Alive have always focussed their research around the mapping of male elephant movements and their social interactions via the long-term ID database.

Recently, the Bull Elephant Network Project under the guidance of Hannah, is taking recordings of the bull’s  vocal communications and trying to understand the genetic relatedness between bulls.

Our day in the field starts at dawn, with researchers Ronnie Makukule and Jessica Wilmot who home in on an individual collared elephants using a special Google tracking link developed by Save the Elephants.

Today we are locating Classic – a majestic 40 year old bull in his prime, and instantly identifiable with his broken right tusk.

With the latest technology, it is incredible that we can be deep in the African bush, and yet pick up a signal on an iPad, showing approximately where Classic is.  Once homed in on the area, Ronnie uses a radio telemetry aerial to precisely locate the bull.

And coming round a corner, there he is, hanging out with four of his mates – boys at the waterhole.  There is much jostling, jousting, splashing, mud bathing, tree rubbing and trunk tussling – before each bull wanders off in his own direction.  With these incredible sentient creatures, it would be wonderful to know what is really going on, what is being said, and who is related to who ….

Jess and Ronnie sit silently, holding a microphone aloft, recording the rumbles and noting the associated behaviours, so we can try and understand their “language”.  Sometimes an elephant will come and investigate the researchers – obviously trying to understand what we’re up to, whilst we’re studying them!

Please note that inexperienced observers should not encourage or seek out such behaviour in wild elephants.

Photos are taken of all the associating animals to add to the long-term database that Elephants Alive has maintained. Dung samples are collected and carefully labelled for each individual elephant.  to work out the genetic relatedness of these bulls. The dung will also be tested in the USA by another collaborator of Elephants Alive, Dr. Kari Morfeld from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute  for stress hormones to add yet another level of fascinating information to our understanding of the bull society.

Thanks to Elephants Alive and their research projects, we are beginning to get an insight into the sophisticated communications and social structures of these complex and magnificent pachyderms. Most importantly, we can apply this understanding of their lives and behaviour to help African elephant conservation.

Guidelines for Safe Elephant Viewing

By Michelle Henley

We are proud to announce that a new brochure has been produced to ensure that people know how to behave around elephants. Mac, the iconic bull who represents one of the large tuskers of Kruger and who has been tracked by Elephants Alive since early 2002 until his death in 2013 due to natural causes, features on the cover and we are pleased to have immortalised him in this way.

Michelle Henley illustrated and provided the photos for the brochure and together with the other Trustees of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group of South Africa (ESAG) crafted the text. Elephants Alive has a number of printed brochures available as examples and reprints can be organised depending on the demand. We trust that you will find this compact and user-friendly guide of use if ever you need to share space with elephants.