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.