If there is one thing that the current global COVID-19 crisis has taught humankind, it is that much can be accomplished when you take a moment to be still and revaluate what is important in life. We have been forced to quieten the day to day busyness and learnt how to live in the moment, how to become fluid and flexible and re- create yourself in order to survive, to roll with the punches, and to hopefully come out on the other side – STRONGER…..more determined….and still clinging on to that glimmer of HOPE. Great strides in conservation can be made by taking a step back, observing, and simply allowing Nature to speak. If you can understand the language of Nature, you can turn this knowledge into powerful drivers of positive change.
Despite the world in lockdown critical elephant research is STILL taking place. For those of you that are stuck at home or missing Africa we are offering you the opportunity to participate in a unique live conservation experience. Front row seats from the comfort and safety of your home, the opportunity to see the elephant experts in action. Your chance to virtually work side by side with them through this exhilarating experience. You will get to trek, immobilizing, and collar a specifically chosen elephant. And know that you have helped the conservation professionals make a difference in protecting and studying these magnificent creatures. Does that sound like something that would catch your attention?
In just a few weeks, the Blue Sky Society team along with the professionals from Elephants Alive and Wildlife vets will be part of an extraordinary virtual elephant collaring operation in the Hoedspruit area, the savannah reverberates with stories told by generations of gentle giants that roam these grasslands; stories infused with age-old wisdom; stories that must be preserved. We are still waiting to set a final date and time, and this will only be put in place once all necessary permits have been obtained.
We will be joining a stellar team of experts from wildlife and conservation bodies who have dedicated their lives to listening to these stories and responding in ways to save and protect these majestic beasts. The collaring date will be confirmed when we have received the permit. The team will spend a morning collaring elephants in the Hoedspruit area. We will collar one elephant but if more funds are raised, we can repeat the operation. We are also hoping to raise enough funds to feed a few of the wildlife communities in rural areas adjacent to some of these pristine wildlife spaces. You can help us to achieve this by supporting this initiative.
Why do we need to collar?
There are several critical reasons why we need to raise funds to collar elephants in this area:
Scientific research: As with everything in life, the best decisions are knowledge-based. Similarly, safeguarding and preserving Africa’s elephant population is heavily dependent on quality data. Experts must be able to monitor the animals’ movements and migration routes. The elephants we will be working with cross man-made borders between the various Private Reserves to the west of the Kruger National Park. How does this impact on water and food access, how do the elephants’ journeys overlap with different land-use practices across the mosaic of Protected Areas and how best do we protect the animals and humans under these circumstances? The answers are based on scientific research i.e. crucial data that the collars will provide.
Collars help prevent conflict between elephants and people: Human-wildlife conflict is an age-old dilemma. The collars provide experts with critical data, which help them make life-saving decisions so that people and elephants can co-exist in harmony. Fully understanding jumbo behaviour and movement will fuel significant, impactful decision-making and intervention measures. The collars provide real-time data so rangers, for example, can move in if necessary, with rapid response teams and herd the animals away if they wander too close to communities or valuable infrastructure. If an animal is injured or stationary for too long the transmitter will show researchers that the animal has not moved, and they can immediately send in the response team to go and see what is happening.
Influencing policy: Three countries make up the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. Data gathered from the elephant collars will be channelled to key policy- and decision-makers in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa as the animals can wander over wide areas. This will facilitate greater cross-border collaboration resulting in more impactful conservation efforts
There is much riding on our elephant-collaring mission. YOU are invited to help us save lives (elephants and people) within this precious area of exquisite natural beauty.