There are many organisations within Africa that are trying to do just that. There are compensation schemes for livestock predation, education schemes and local game conservancies, where people can make a living from the tourist influx their wildlife provides. These help in the short-term but other long-term strategies are needed to protect habitat and to manage the potential for conflict where human settlements border protected areas or human expansion encroaches on wild areas.
This is where organisations like Save The Elephants come in. We have chosen to link our blog to a fundraising drive for Save The Elephants because we are so impressed with the "holistic" approach to the task that underpins their work. They don't just campaign to protect the elephant; they get out there and study the elephant with a view to devising new ways to manage human-elephant conflict, both in terms of personal conflict and conflict for resources and land. Some examples of their innovative work have included creating underpasses, so that elephants can still follow their traditional migration routes where roads have bisected them; collaring elephants with GPS collars that trigger a text message when they approach a village to alert the villagers; research that showed elephants' extreme fear of even just the sound of African Bees, which evolved into a project where villages have been taught how to keep bee hives to dissuade elephants from approaching the village, with the added bonus that the village gets a bumper supply of honey as well as safe crops!
We wanted to give something back to these conservation efforts through our safari, so we came up with the idea that we would blog as we go, allowing other people to follow what happens in near real time and link the blog to a Just Giving page, where people who follow the blog can make a donation to help the work of Save The Elephants.
We sincerely hope that if you find our blog interesting you will join with us in supporting one of the new breed of conservation organisations that takes a long-term view and looks at the realities on the ground and explores the practicalities of sustainable conservation instead of just ramming an idealistic viewpoint down people's throats. Without organistaions like Save The Elephants these amazingly intelligent and social creatures would simply disappear from our planet.
Please help to ensure this century is not the last for the elephant!
You can donate by clicking here or on the Just Giving link on the right.