As the human population increases, the amount of space left for wildlife is decreasing. Human beings are now living in closer proximity to wildlife and more often encounter conflict due to competition for space and resources. This conflict has resulted in injury to humans and elephants as well as damage to property such as crops and livestock.
Mid way through their first month of their final term, the Mobile Education Unit team visited our target classes from three select primary schools around the reserves. This time round, they were to learn more on protecting their own future and that of elephants’ too. Starting off, they discussed the challenges that human beings experience while living together with elephants.
These discussions brought out scenarios that many of them go through while at home or moving between school and their homes. Several safe and unsafe scenarios were identified and the sole purpose of this would be for them to increase their understanding of appropriate behaviors to live safely among elephants. By identifying each appropriate behavior, the students were expected to form groups and play roles by acting out real scenarios in front of their classmates. It was nerve wracking for a few of them who were not used to speaking or presenting anything in front of their peers but the first group almost always broke the ice during this activity.
In summary, the lesson concluded in identifying things that they can do to live safely around elephants by a big colorful poster. This poster also identified signs of agitation in elephants if they ever get to come across them. With this, our students were very excited to have learnt something new that day. Several others mentioned that are going to make their families aware of the different methods in which they could deter elephants from their farms. They expressed a lot of enthusiasm on our next lesson and want us to visit more often.
CONSERVATION FILM SHOW
The following week, the Mobile Education Unit visited Lorubae primary school where we showed a film aimed at enlightening people on the behavior and characteristics of elephants and their importance to the environment they live in and the places they pass through. It also shows the effort that the STE team is putting in to ensure that these animals are protected from illegal killing and to show the need and importance of conserving them.
The students remained silent and very attentive throughout the session and could not hide their anxiety to learn more about elephants. After watching the film, the pupils were enthusiastic about their newly acquired knowledge about elephants and their environment. They learnt about the threats that face them especially when they traverse through farmlands. They mentioned how passionate they are now towards elephants now that they know they are social animals.