In early 2011, ElephantVoices launched "Elephant Partners", an elephant conservation project in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. The goal of Elephant Partners is to develop a working model for citizens to monitor and protect elephants. This initiative is made possible through support from the generous organisations and inviduals listed at the bottom of this page.
The concept is to connect individual people - guides, scouts, researchers, photographers, tourists, people of the Maasai Mara and all those who care - with the lives of individual elephants. Through use of the Internet and social and educational media, our intention is to develop a community sharing knowledge of the Mara elephants and working together to protect them. This page, via the links on top of it, is a gateway to the unique online databases, which are core tools for this conservation initiative.
Elephants are important for the survival of the Mara
As an iconic landscape species elephants are important to the survival of the Mara. They play a key role in the ecosystem and, through tourism, in the local economy. Their great size, sociality, intelligence and charisma make them important Ambassadors for other threatened species. Yet, the Mara elephants are currently threatened by habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and ivory poaching. Many elephants are killed each year and an even greater number are wounded by spears, arrows and snares. By engaging people in the monitoring and protection of elephants, we hope to engender enthusiasm for the collective custodianship necessary to protect elephants and the ecosystem.
The data collected will include group size, location and composition and will determine the habitat use and migration routes used by individual elephants. These data will help wildlife managers protect elephants and to determine the corridors vital to their survival. Elephant Partners will make these and other baseline data available to the public. Furthermore, the project will help focus attention on the newly formed conservancies and bolster their important work; the future of elephants and other landscape species depends upon their commercial success.
Follow and support the Mara elephants
One of the main components of this initiative is a fully searchable online database for storing information, photographs and identifying features of each elephant - the Mara Elephant Who's Who - so that anyone can get to know them as individuals. This database will be populated by ElephantVoices, with photo contributions from those of you residing in or visiting the Maasai Mara. You will find an article about The Mara Elephant Who's Who and how to identify elephants published on National Geographic's A Voice for Elephants 16 August 2013, with photos and educational video.
Via the online interface of a second Mara Elephant Whereabouts database people can upload their own observations, photos and comments on the Mara elephants (their behavior, movements, interactions, conflicts, threats, etc.). This database is related to an advanced mapping functionality showing selected location data. You have to be a registered user to access the above databases - they are both password-protected.
Furthermore, in November 2011 we launched the Mara EleApp, which has later been updated. This app, for Android-based phones, provides an efficient way for people to collect and upload observations directly to the above mentioned Observations database.
To achieve its vision Elephant Partners must serve and belong to everyone: The many conservancies (Mara Triangle, Mara North, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oiroua, Enonkishu, Motorogi, Olare Orok, Mara Naboisho, Ol Kinyei, Olderikesi, see map), Kenya Wildlife Service, Maasai Mara National Reserve, members of the local community, the tourism sector and members of the general public. Kenya Wildlife Service, the Mara Elephant Project and the Koiyaki Guiding School are just a few of many important collaborators in this initiative.
The below video is from a presentation of the Elephant Partners initiative by ElephantVoices' Joyce Poole,
at National Geographic' Explorers Symposium in June 2012.
We are grateful to the organizations and individuals below for making this project possible.
|You will find a full overview over monetary and in-kind supporters, and other contributors and collaborators, on the Acknowledgements page.