Elephants Alive is running a number of workshops on “Protecting Trees against Elephant Impact” for landowners, reserve wardens and managers. Thornybush hosted a workshop, and presentations have also been given at the Tuskers Workshop in January 2019, and the South African Veterinary Association conference in March 2019. Dr Michelle Henley outlines the vital inter-links between elephants and big trees and Robin Cook summarises the potential measures to protect iconic trees – including wire netting, bee hives and the research currently underway using chilli spray as a deterrent.
We’ve received great feedback and will be hosting future big tree protection workshops for interested parties.
Thank you to Tom Coetzee for organising the workshop and Andy Payne for hosting it at Waterside Lodge, Thornybush. In February 2019, Elephants Alive’s latest scientific paper titled ‘Complexities associated with elephant impact on Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra in the Greater Kruger National Park’ was published in the scientific journal South African Journal of Botany. This paper explores how the combinations of elephant impact, termite presence, and road and water densities can influence marula tree mortality. Details of this paper are available at this link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2019.01.016
We consider ourselves privileged to have links to special friends and colleagues in Kenya. We are very proud of Elephants Alive’s Ronny Makakule who was awarded a trip to Kenya by Save the Elephants to meet David Daballen, a guru in the field of individual elephant identification.
This was followed by the attendance of a very informative STE strategic meeting by our chairperson and director (Marlene McCay and Dr. Michelle Henley). Here we learnt about the ins and outs of how STE and the Elephant Crisis Fund effectively operate to make a difference to the conservation of elephants across Africa.
Michelle and the Elephants Alive Tracking Project Manager (Anka Bedetti de Kock) then went on to visit Dr. Jake Wall, the as newly appointed Director of Research and Conservation for MEP. We got to meet the CEO of MEP, Marc Goss and other staff who will collectively place MEP on the map in terms of elephant conservation. Jake, in his usual generous and knowledgeable way freely shared his advanced coding skills with Anka, Benjamin Loloju and Nelson Mwangi, the latter two people from STE and collectively known as the formidable ‘Benson’ team.
We are very appreciative for the invitation and the opportunity to apply these skills in upcoming reports to reserve managers and funders. Other than the shared buzz of knowledge, it was an unforgettable experience to enjoy sundowners on the banks of the famous Mara River, just before leaving.
As if the shades of the expansive African sky and the good company of Jake and his family were not enough already, a lioness suddenly appeared on the opposite bank to flush a warthog from its hollow and then disappeared in hot pursuit of her quarry. Another magical moment in Africa where you know that the memory will be etched in your mind but it all happened so quickly that you left wondering if it really happened or were you just daydreaming ….. fortunately, this time there were enough witnesses left with huge smiles on their faces.
The saying of Mehmet Murat Ildan rings clear: “Enlarge your windows till you get a window where you can see the whole universe with one look!”. Understanding how other conservation projects such as Save the Elephants (STE) and the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) deal with Human-Elephant-Conflict, the tracking and individual identification of elephants is not only inspirational but also very informative to our own long-term efforts.
Elephants Alive successfully collared six elephants in Mozambique’s Maputo Special Reserve (MSR). MSR is home to over 500 elephants, however, little is known about their movement patterns.
This is an incredibly scenic reserve, situated 100 km southeast of the capital, preserving both the sand forest and marine environment within its midst. As MSR forms a part of Peace Park’s Usuthu-Tembe-Futi Transfrontier Conservation Area, it is vital management to understand elephant movements before joining up conservation areas across the Mozambican and South African international borders.
Joining hands in Mozambique and in a huge collaborative effort between Elephants Alive, Saving the Survivors, Young Presidents Organisation, Safari Giants, Wildlifevets SA, Savannah Tracking and the Peace Parks Foundation, six elephants were collared across MSR in an attempt to understand elephant movement patterns in various sections of the reserve. We are delighted with how smooth the collaring operations were carried out, in what at times were very difficult terrain. We are excited to see the results of this operation by allowing the elephants to tell us their stories through their movements.
We have many individuals and organisations to thank for making this happen. From Mozambique we would like to thank: Dr. Carlos Lopes Perreira, Dr. Joao Almeida, Miquel Goncalves, Antonio Alverca and Pedro Alverca. Elephants Alive: Dr. Michelle Henley, Anka Bedetti, Robin Cook, Tammy Eggeling Saving the Survivors: Dr. Johan Marias and Dr. Joao Almeida Safari Giants: Dex Kotze and Annie Snowden Wildlifevets: Dr. Ben Muller Savannah Tracking: Dr. Henrik Rasmussen and Ivy Mutiso Peace Parks Foundation: Brian Neubert Pilot: James Scheun Marine Resource: Marcel Kroese
Elephant experts from across Africa gathered in Hoedspruit for the three day TUSKERS Workshop in January.
This hugely successful and highly impactful event was organised by Elephants Alive, together with Elephants for Africa and Southern African Conservation Trust. Speakers included elephant researchers from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, UK, USA and South Africa, together with reserve managers, game rangers, vets, anti-poaching units, and educational outreach experts. Together we discussed the latest news regarding elephant conservation challenges, shared best practice and success stories and how to engage key stakeholders including local communities.
Two themes of the workshop included the role of women in conservation and the forging of stronger linkages with communities surrounding Protected Areas. It was a meeting of minds and herding together for elephant conservation.