After our initial evaluation in 2011 that showed many students had a negative attitude toward elephants, we have seen a tremendous improvement in their perception and knowledge of elephants. We can safely attribute this to the use of fun, inspirational and empowering techniques. Next, we went a step further to connect students with nature through game drives into Samburu National Reserve. Children who have never seen elephants from a safe distance were fascinated and able to learn so much more as they snaked round the park with Save the Elephants and Disney.
The journey continues, and the vision we see on the horizon is one where our modest steps in forming new attitudes in these young minds produce a generation of leaders who have an intrinsic love for elephants, and indeed wildlife and their rich environment in its entirety.
Our Conservation education officer reported: In 2013, the Living in harmony lessons have yielded good results. 72% showed in their stories of elephants encounter showed fear, 22% relief, while 4% showed hatred or dislike. Another study was carried out during the field trips. 32% were happy, 18% showed admiration, 32% said they were similar to humans and 36% felt they are important to humans. Following such an impressive turnaround, all students in our focal area will be taken into the parks to experience the wildlife firsthand.
In 2016, the Living in Harmony with Elephants lessons yielded good results with 61% of students showing appreciation for elephants up from 39% before the lessons. Additionally, the proportion of students acknowledging the roles of elephants in shaping their landscape rose from 8% to an encouraging 53%. As part of our coexistence lessons, we also take students into the protected areas to experience wildlife first hand.