Elephant - Human Conflict Solutions for Namibia's Desert Elephants
EHRA's program to help people and elephants live together in peace is multi-pronged:
Water point protection walls: building sturdy, high concrete and stone walls to protect critical infrastructure at water points, while allowing elephants open access to drinking water. When people know their water supply is secure, they become much more tolerant toward the elephants.
Elephant movement and identification: locating any elephants in the area, identifying all individuals by physical characteristics and personality traits, recording births, deaths, matings and changes in herd structure. All herd locations are mapped, id photos are taken, and all data are logged onto EHRA's database. Over time, movement patterns become apparent, and seasonal site preferences for drinking and foraging can be predicted, depending on rainfall and food availability. When all information is compiled, potential problem sites can be pinpointed and individual problem animals can probably be identified.
Data collection from GPS/satellite collars: attaching GPS satellite collars to selected elephants is a near-future goal to aid in tracking long-range movements of bulls when they leave the area and are not seen for weeks or months, usually during the rainy season. This can only be done with the approval of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), an experienced veterinarian, an airplane or helicopter, and a well-prepared ground crew. The data such collars provide would exponentially increase everyone's knowledge and understanding of the desert-dwelling elephants and their habits.
The PEACE (People and Elephants Amicably Co-Existing) project—a community-based education program: helping people who live among the elephants to understand their biology, physiology and behavior and to observe them in the field, to help decrease fear and lack of information, and to appreciate the roles of all in earth's overall environment. Residents, chiefs and headmen, conservancy leaders, school pupils and tourism sector employees will have opportunities to participate in this newest phase of EHRA's conservation efforts.
Income-generating projects: participating with other NGOs and service organizations to develop and complete commercial ventures to derive incomes for community members directly related to the elephants living in their locales. EHRA's own Eco camp will open to tourists in 2010 under a joint venture partnership with Sorri-Sorris Conservancy to provide its members with employment and income.