Wildlife conservation has always been a integral part of Selous Safari Company's vision and manifesto, however with terrifying statistics emerging daily, elephant conservation has become an area that requires far more attention, and soon, or we will have no elephant in the world in under a decade.
At Jongomero this has become a necessary passionate and focal topic for our guests, for our guides and for our managers. With the latest statistics stating Tanzania has lost two thirds of its elephant population in just four years, and Ruaha in particular has lost 60% in under a year giving us a population of only 8,200 to protect.
For years the company has strived to protect all animals but we are now working along side Southern Tanzania Elephant Program or STEP, which is an elephant conservation project based in Southern Tanzania. Believing in the importance of strong protected areas and the welfare of people living around their boundaries, they work with a range of partners towards long-term security for elephants, a critical keystone and umbrella species of the incredible ecosystems of Ruaha, Udzungwa and Selous. This is a group project, with partners feeding in necessary information as well as funds.
One part of their project is to actively identify specific elephants; monitor the current population in Ruaha and get an understanding of the make up and movements of the herds. This information greatly assists the organisation's understanding of the impact human activities have on the Ruaha elephants and deliver future plans for protection and anti-poaching.
The guides at Jongomero were all recently trained on these data collection methods by STEP. A variety of topics were covered which included the ageing, sexing and understanding of herd composition and how to collect this vital data on tablets - with the simple click of a button our guides can enter the information as well as GPS tag the location of these particular elephant. All of this information can be recorded in under two minutes, with no impact to guest experience.
From here the information is sent to STEP who will analyse our data as well as statistics from other camps and rangers which will then result in solid statistics, which will then help determine which areas need targetting and what initiatives need to be implemented to stop the poaching.
Through detailed research and a group effort to put an end to the illegal ivory trade we hope to protect Ruaha's elephants for many years to come and start re-populating this fabulous National Park.
For more information about STEP visit their website http://www.stzelephants.org/ and to help protect our ellies please consider donating vital funds - either directly with them or through us.