Where to Travel and Support Elephant Conservation
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The 12th of August was World Elephant Day, designed to draw attention to the conservation work being carried out to protect them and the human threat which is still an issue to these mammals’ survival.At the current rate, humans are poaching elephants for their ivory at a faster rate than they can reproduce. Annually, 8% of the world elephant population is poached. An estimated 415,000 elephants remain, so that means that this year, around 33,200 elephants will be killed for their ivory. The African Wildlife warns that “at current poaching rates, elephant populations may be extinct in the wild within our lifetimes.” In 2018 countries across the African continent called on the EU to ban the ivory trade completely and with no exceptions. Currently, the trade of raw ivory is illegal in Europe, but a trade in Ivory antiques is still illegal, which allows traffickers to transport raw ivory within the system. In 2017, The Times released statistics revealing that ‘Britain ha[d] exported more ivory antiques since 2010 than any other country.’ This is continuing to fuel the ivory industry around the world, allowing poaching to still makes millions each year in the death of these mammals.
Safari Bookings, a company operating specialised safari tours, released some information ahead of World Elephant to tell us more about how conservation is being achieved in the holiday destinations they offer:
BotswanaBotswana contains ⅓ of Africa’s elephant population. It is a stable country allows for a perfect ‘elephant haven’ and is a leader in ‘low-impact, upmarket tourism’. Read more about how to explore Botswana here.
KenyaKenya is home to the organisation 'Save The Elephants' which: "aims to secure a future for elephants, and to sustain the ecological integrity of the natural places where they live". Despite being based in Kenya, this company operates across Africa, aiming to achieve and maintain a harmonious relationship between elephants and people. In their recent project in partnership with Disney, they introduced Bee Hives to farms in order to keep elephants away from crops and avoid confrontation between both species.
STE also works in schools to spread awareness of the need for conservation and also takes on a supportive role, offering the brightest students the opportunity to go to high school and college by providing scholarships.
Malawi's recent conservation work with elephants has established them as an elephant haven. It is the base of the non-profit conservation organization 'African Parks' which takes on direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities.Efforts are being made across the globe to educate and train people in the conservation of elephants, protecting them from poaching and other human dangers. Humans are the biggest threat to the elephant population and although it is great to see such a big response in Africa, it is important that other countries around the globe are educated and made aware of the dangers they inadvertently create for the elephant species. By travelling with some of these organisations you can witness the beauty of these elephants and help their conservation as well.