STE Annual Report 2006


Save the Elephants

Date Published

Threats to the continued existence of elephants shift over the years. The syndrome of “too many elephants” in parks and reserves, described in the 60s, gave way to devastating ivory poaching in the 70s and 80s, until the trade was banned. In the 90s, and up till now, a massive human elephant conflict is perceived, where expanding people come face to face with elephants in former elephant territory, but the older threats are still there in the background.

In this increasingly human dominated world, elephants will only be able to survive where clear policies and planning takes place that allows them sufficient space, resources and the means for co-existence. More than ever before our research is relevant to planning. One of our aims for the next three years is to develop our understanding of the Human Footprint, that is the impact of human development, in our study areas of Northern Kenya, the semi-desert of Mali, the forests of Congo and the bushveld of South Africa. With this information, in collaboration with government and NGO partners, we intend to help conserve essential dispersal areas and corridors for movements of elephants and other critical species.

Our core speciality is the GPS/GSM elephant tracking that enable us to follow their movements 24 hours a day. This technology means that collared elephants now send us text messages like a mobile phone every hour, with details of their location and air temperature. Combined with knowledge of individuals we can probe behaviour as never before and begin to understand elephant needs. We will extend this work now to other key species to establish the vital connectivity within whole ecosystems where we work, and how co-existence with man can work.

In this, our annual report, we present a collection of individual accounts by our staff, that vary, from summaries of scientific papers and theses, to stories of particular elephants, and details of our education projects. This is to give you a flavour of the innovative ideas, geographical scope, high tech solutions and productive partners we have enjoyed at Save the Elephants during the past year. It is intended to lead to solutions for securing a future for elephants, other species, and the integrity of the natural environment.

None of this important work could be undertaken without both financial and personal support from our friends, colleagues and donors. We rely entirely on funds, grants and donations from around the world, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been so generous in the past. I hope you will enjoy our latest report.

With best wishes,

Iain Douglas-Hamilton