This project enables volunteers to contribute towards elephant conservation by helping to reduce conflict between elephants and humans.
Most of the work that we do is concentrated in the North West region of Namibia, known as Damaraland. This is one of the areas of Namibia that is seeing an increase of wild elephants returning to habitats that they have not lived in for hundreds of years.
This project also gives us the opportunity to expose dedicated enthusiasts to the work we do in the field and to offer a unique chance to make a personal difference and a real contribution to conservation and biosphere development in Namibia.
Working from mobile base camps in the vicinity of the Brandberg in the ephemeral Ugab River area, the volunteer teams immerse themselves in pioneer conservation work. This project is not for those interested in bottle-feeding or caring for captive baby elephants.
This is about real; spearhead conservation work in a harsh desert environment where small bands of secretive, desert adapted elephants roam vast wilderness areas. Where subsistence farmers eke out an existence and need all the help they can get in their confrontation with the elephants competing for precious water resources.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Our project takes you to the north-western regions of the Namib Desert, traditionally known as ‘Damaraland’.
This harsh tribal wilderness area runs parallel to the Skeleton Coast national park and is home to a small population of desert adapted elephants.
The first week of the project will see you join the building project, working with the local subsistence farmers building protective walls around their water points or constructing new water points for elephants away from homesteads and farms.
The following week is spent on elephant patrol, assisting the local staff following and monitoring the movements of these elephants, camping wild and experiencing life in the bush!
This project is part of a long term initiative to find solutions to the ever growing problem of human wildlife conflicts and encouraging peaceful co-habitation between the subsistence farmers and the desert adapted elephants, through:
The project’s emphasis is on the building of protective structures around communal water points, the creation of additional water points for elephants, assisting with, and helping the farmers to benefit financially from tourism in the area, researching elephant movements and distributing and compiling identikits on herds and individuals.
Elephant Movement and ID Database
Volunteer project teams will track and monitor the desert elephant in the southern Kunene Region of Namibia in Africa, which will enable us to compile identikits of all elephants and to map their movement patterns. Data collected is entered on our online database, which links GPS positions to Google Earth maps. From this information we can ascertain which farms and homesteads require protection and where the elephants roam during different seasons.
As the desert dwelling elephants of Namibia are still adapting to the end of poaching and over hunting and the vast areas of land now open to them, their movements and habits are still transient and largely unknown. Accurate data on elephant numbers and movements, the ability to identify each elephant and knowledge of individual elephant personalities are paramount to effective conservation management in Africa.
Water Point Protection Programme
In their search for water, elephants can cause extensive damage to valuable water sources, often depriving communities in Namibia of water for extensive periods.
Our elephant conservation volunteer project works directly with local communities to protect vulnerable structures from damage with walls, which allow the elephants to drink but prevent access to the windmills, water storage tanks or pumps.
Our conservation volunteer project provides valuable manpower for the construction of protection walls and also provides funding for twice monthly vehicle based patrols of the area. Namibia is a beautiful area of Africa and volunteer groups can expect to see some of the most stunning landscapes the country has to offer.
Education is an important tool in safeguarding the future and conservation of the desert dwelling elephants of Namibia. The project also looks to provide community members, including school learners, with knowledge on elephant behaviour, so that they can live without fear of the desert elephants.
We help by supporting local schools with volunteer efforts ranging from a project rebuilding classrooms, dormitories or toilets and showers to building a computer network from donated computers and installing a library.
The volunteer conservation project is the pinnacle of the organisation's existence, with volunteers providing the manpower and funding for the conflict prevention programme. All types of people from all over the world have offered their help as volunteers, including groups of as many as 14 participants, and always a mix of ages.
Detailed work programmes will be agreed with your project leader upon arrival.