The Elephants For Africa research project is the leading provider of data on the ecology, demographics and habitat utilisation of the savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Botswana is home to the largest remaining population of elephant in the world, a population we know little about. It is our mission to continue to provide up to date data on the ecology of the elephants that utilise this unique habitat to the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and Ministry of Environment, Wildlife & Tourism (MEWT), to enable them to base their conservation and management decisions on hard scientific fact. This work furthers our understanding of the African elephant and is therefore applicable throughout the continent.
To ensure the long-term conservation of this vital population of the African elephant the EFA has settup a holistic training programme for Botswana nationals to learn field research skills and methodology. In conjunction with our training programme, we have implemented a Scholarship Fund for Botswana nationals and international students to enable them to complete postgraduate degrees through the University of Botswana and Bristol University, England. This scheme will bridge a gap between conservation management and research as well as providing cross cultural education opportunities.
The project objectives are to continue researching adolescence in male elephants and the transition of adolescent male elephants from their natal herd into male society. In conjunction with our monitoring of captive elephants released into captivity, we are able to test the viability of translocation projects, both in Africa and Asia as an alternative to culling and as a source of genetic strengthening of isolated populations. New areas of research are being developed on the back of our findings since 2002, and will incorporate many scientific disciplines through collaborations with distinguished personnel and world renowned institutes. The research will take our understanding of elephants and their needs to a new level and provide us with tools to conserve, manage and combat the increasing human elephant conflict and alleviate some of the hardships of rural communities that must live alongside wildlife.