Among the Elephants Blog

Community Educational Tour
March 28, 2003
by David Daballen, Senior Research Assistant

North of Samburu National reserve lies Kalama conservancy. Far north is Namunyak wildlife conservancy. These two conservancies are owned by the communities and are shared with wild animals.

The communities are responding more positively to the idea of conservation, and we can now see more and more of them attending wildlife seminars and courses to open more place to wild animals. This is so especially with people living north of Matthews Ranges who still have a lot of land to share. At a recent wildlife forum a Samburu elder stood up and said it would make more sense if they were to be taken on an education tour to learn and see a few things happening in other place.

Mid this month, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), one of the major stake holders in any conservation meeting, decided to sponsor a few community representative to go around other conservation area like Samburu ,Lewa, Namuyak and other few places on an educational tour. In Samburu National Park, Save the Elephants was one of main core interest places that they wanted to visit, and was actually the first place they visited when they arrived in Samburu. After brief introductions I went straight to explaining to them the work of STE and how we carry it out.

The first thing I explained to them is how to identify elephants individually by taking pictures of the right and left ears, in all the elephants in the park and sorting them out in families and giving them names. I showed them the complex movement from the collars and maps, the collars themselves, and how we can tell some hot spots from information collected from the collars. They asked why we keep the jaws and I explained it to them that it is for education purposes i.e. for ageing.

They were interested to learn that we are able to identify the jaws and know what elephants they had belonged to. I believe they learnt many things and I am happy that they visited our research center.. After the end of our talk they all looked amazed and were reluctant to leave. I assured them they are always welcome to visit our camp in future for similar educational tours as we should all join and support local conservation values.