Elephants on the river
It has been a busy time since our last report in April, this year the cropping season went into May and so our Research Officer, Thata and tracker, Lewis, were very busy attending all the crop raids. This also meant that our time in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park was limited and highlighted our need for another research officer and infrastructure to enable us to continue with the monitoring in the park at a high level throughout the year; for now, that will have to remain an aspiration.
Whilst we live and work in a remote location, we are still affected by the global community, its economics and politics, challenges, and turmoil. We knew it would be hard to survive the pandemic as a small charity and the restrictions in funding we encountered, and I am incredibly proud of the team for working so hard to cut back, think outside the box and remain resilient to ensure we could deliver to our beneficiaries. I hoped we would then have time to recover before another challenge came our way, but that was not to be so; fuel prices have been skyrocketing throughout the world and the same is true for Botswana with fuel prices doubling. This has blown our budget and so we are working hard to bridge the funding gap and limit fuel use where we can, so for the time being we are limiting our research sessions in the park thus, limiting our data.
However, there is always a silver lining and in July we welcomed our first international student back to camp after almost a 3-year hiatus. Many students associated with Elephants for Africa had to work remotely using our historical data, or we assisted them with questionnaires, others postponed their fieldwork and degrees. We are delighted that we have now been able to welcome them back to camp in person, creating a fabulous atmosphere in camp and wonderful learning opportunities for staff and students alike. This also means that we have more people out there spending time with the elephants and more data coming in. Any associated student contributes data to our database
Our data has revealed no effect of hunting or season on the reaction indices of the elephants, we look forward to adding the data from the students and doing further analyses. In the next month, we will be collaring 10 adult male elephants to gather more data on how elephants are utilising the National Park and surrounding communities, it will be interesting to see if that operation affects the population as a whole and how they react to humans.
As always, we hope that this finds you well and we look forward to updating you next time.